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This One Summer
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 2015 Caldecott Honor and Michael L. Printz Honor book This One Summer is a frank and engaging exploration of how friendships and family connections can change over the course of one season. This graphic novel expertly captures what it feels like to be on the cusp between childhood and adolescence. An unwanted teenage pregnancy is an integral part of the story, as do a miscarriage and a suicide attempt. Dialogue in This One Summer contains about a dozen instances each of "s--t," "f--k," and "a--hole." "Boobs," "prick," "douche bag," "slut," and "butt" are employed a few times each. Adults are shown drinking wine, and older teens drink and smoke at an outdoor party.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Rose and Windy look forward all year to their summer family vacations at Awago Beach. But this year is different for the best friends, as Rose's mother is sad and withdrawn, and she and Rose's dad fight often. Rose develops a crush on "Dud," the older boy who works behind the counter at the local convenience store, and Windy is fascinated by the problems Dud is having with his girlfriend. The year-and-a-half age gap between Rose and Windy feels wider than it used to. When near-tragedy strikes, the girls get a glimpse of what lies beyond childhood.
Is it any good?
THIS ONE SUMMER perfectly captures the awkward transition from childhood to adolescence. Author Mariko Tamaki and illustrator Jillian Tamaki (who are cousins) are perfectly attuned to each other, with the expressive blue-washed artwork conveying both the unfocused energy of the protagonists and the subtlety of their story. The narrative is not action-packed, but the creators achieve powerful effects with economy and grace. It's also gratifying to find a graphic novel that speaks directly and realistically to the lives and dreams of girls in their early teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how comics and graphic novels tell stories differently from other media. What kinds of effects are available through the combination of words and pictures that aren't available from either method alone?
How do friendships change over time? Why do some people remain friends forever, while others drift apart?
How do you feel about "slut-shaming"? What does it mean when a young woman is called a slut?
- Authors: Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki
- Illustrator: Jillian Tamaki
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: First Second
- Publication date: May 6, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Awards: ALA Best and Notable Books, Caldecott Medal and Honors
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.