This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki | Book ReviewThis One Summer by Jillian Tamaki, Mariko Tamaki
Published by Macmillan on 2014-05-06
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Friendship, Girls & Women, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. One of the local teens - just a couple of years older than Rose and Windy - is caught up in something bad... Something life threatening.It's a summer of secrets, and sorrow, and growing up, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.This One Summer is a tremendously exciting new teen graphic novel from two creators with true literary clout. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of childhood - a story of renewal and revelation.

Why Did I Read This Book?

Initially, I was interested in This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki because of the Stephanie Perkins blurb. I know, I know allegedly blurbs don’t work anymore, but this blurbed worked for me. I thought that This One Summer would be a pretty neat female focused comic book perfect for my summer reading. My instinct about this did indeed prove correct and so — the summary combined with a quick flip through to look at the art combined with A TON OF BLURBS from authors I really enjoy lead to me reading This One Summer and I regret NOTHING.

What’s The Story Here?

This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki is about Rose and Windy, two girls whose families are friends who spend every summer at a house on Awago Beach. Unfortunately, this year is different from the other years in that Rose’s parents are constantly fighting which is kind of hard for Rose. So, the two decide to distract themselves by going to the store every day for horror movies and such, also to see the really good looking clerk. Only, ugh, this ends up in more drama because the clerk has a girlfriend whom he has gotten pregnant. So, young Rose who has been raised in the same society that we live in now thinks of the pregnant girl as a slut because her crush on the clerk is so overwhelming. So, essentially This One Summer is about growing up, about coming of age, about summer, about that revelation you get when you realize that your parents are actually people and life is not so easy as it looks.

What Did I End Up Thinking Of This Book?

I actually really loved This One Summer. I know, I know people did not like it because of the slut shaming, but honestly that felt true to life to me. I felt like in this society girls are taught to compete for the male gaze and male attention, so when Rose feels a threat to her feelings for the clerk guy, of course she is going to automatically call her a slut because we’re taught to be ashamed of our sexuality. At least she gets called out on it. Does she immediately change? No, but she’s human. Chances are at 13 (I think she’s 13 or 14) she hasn’t taken any women’s studies classes and IDK, I just know that at 13/14 I totally used those words too because that’s the society in which I live. I don’t know. I just wasn’t as bothered by it as others, I guess. We all read books differently.

What I really liked here was the portrayal of Rose’s mother’s depression. From what I see, she had a miscarriage, so of course she’s experiencing depression and loss and at Rose’s age, she doesn’t get that.She just wants her mom to snap out of it. And, when her mom is unable to do this and unable to stop fighting with her husband, Rose finds something else to take her attention. I thought that seemed pretty true to life.

I guess I just really liked this book and how realistic it felt and how it made me consider my childhood and the society in which I was raised. I am not sure that is the book’s intent, but yes, it was a good one.

How’s The Artwork?

I am seriously in love with the graphic novel style inside This One Summer. I am unsure if the illustrator is Jillian Tamaki or Mariko Tamaki or both and I am okay with that. If it’s both, you can’t tell because the art blends really well. The pages are rendered in violet-indigo looking ink and the effect is quite beautiful, matching the cover very well. The illustrations remind me a lot of manga, only not so angular. It’s like a softer looking manga style. Further, the art looks like it would be textured because it’s so intense and detailed, but alas it still feels like paper when you touch it. It’s very easy to tell all the characters apart. I had no challenges with being able to see the writing clearly, sometimes I feel like with some graphic novels you need a magnifying glass in order to be able to properly read the book, but that’s not the case with This One Summer. Ultimately, reading This One Summer is a gorgeous and tactile experience.

Sum It Up With A GIF:

Even though the girls are never on bikes at least that I can remember, this GIF feels perfect in spirit.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I was big on slut-shaming when I was that age. I didn’t really find an issue with it until I was in my 30s, when I started to figure out that something popular isn’t always right.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted..Stacking the Shelves #100My Profile

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