Parents' Guide to

This One Summer

By Michael Berry, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Well-observed graphic novel charts transition to adolesence.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 18 parent reviews

age 16+

Requires reading vulgarity to reach the moral lesson.

As someone who has experienced a miscarriage 12-weeks into my pregnancy, when reading “This One Summer” I sympathized and connected with the mom in this book. When I got to the sketched page where she sees the blood and knows she lost the baby, it took me back to all the feelings I experienced at that same realization. As the reader, once I realized that this mom had been distant from her daughter and husband because of years of being overcome with grief, I immediately related. I remembered my own dark time of waking in the mornings, wanting to pull the covers over my head and just go back to sleep. I didn’t want to tend to the needs of my then 1-year old. I didn’t want to talk to my husband and at that point nothing he said felt “right”. Nothing could take away that pain. This book allows young readers to connect with a character, Rose, whose mom experienced the depression that many moms experience at the loss of an unborn baby. I love that this author’s intent is to provide and easy-to-read, graphic, comic book style novel that can allow teens to feel a commonality when their family is experiencing something similar. However, we cannot do this while sacrificing standards as to what is appropriate for minors. I would further argue that it is unfair to require a minor to be exposed to vulgarity in order to meet an emotional need. For example, if a child approaches a librarian and mentions their mom going through depression and having a recent miscarriage, with keyword searches it’s likely this book will show as one of a few that deals with that topic. The student would proceed to read a quarter of the book with innocent eyes. Then as the plot develops and they are connected to the book, they are met with the f word being used 25 times in very offensive conversations. If is unfair to children to unknowingly expose them to this type of language and subject matter when they are innocently looking for a character by which to connect. Furthermore, I have heard from dyslexic student’s parents and teachers, as well as those who are not strong readers, that graphic novels are enjoyed prevalently amongst those students. According to Yale Dyslexia, these books “offer dyslexic students several different cues to the story. If a reader gets snagged on the vocabulary or storyline of a graphic novel, illustrated pages offer contextual cues to help decipher meaning.” While I agree that its good to provide these students a large supply and choice of graphic novels so they will continue reading, we should not to do it by compromising values.
age 16+

no point

A dull, whiny protagonist in a slow-moving series with undercurrents of homosexuality. Not for the younger set.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (18 ):
Kids say (17 ):

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.

Book Details

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