Book | This One Summer

New York Times bestseller & award-winning graphic novel This One Summer is one of the most beautifully drawn and the most challenged book of 2016.

A sensitive story of two young two teen girl coming of age, New York Times bestseller and award-winning graphic novel This One Summer by writer Mariko Tamaki and illustrator Julian Tamaki is one of the most beautifully drawn graphic novels of all time and the most challenged book of 2016.

This One Summer follows two characters, Rosie and Windy, in one of their stays at Awago beach. It has been a tradition for Rosie’s family to visit Awago, and it is at this time of the year that she gets to see her bestfriend, Windy.

Rosie is a little older than Windy and is between being a kid and growing up. She’s curious, quick to judge, and well reserved. Windy, on the other hand, is her opposite. She’s fun, naive, observant and wordy. She’s a good friend to Rosie and is surprisingly likable too (even if she’s not the main character).

In the story, Rosie is facing a family issue that no one is talking about, and self-issue that she doesn’t want to talk about. So the cloud of unease grows inside their home as she tries to understand what she’s going through. Of course, there’s more to this than what can be said for now. To put it simply, the book is about crossing the bridge to the adolescent hood, but surprisingly, it is also about childhood experiences. It’s one of those stories that when you try to look back, despite the sadness, it will make you smile. It’s like a memory of the past relieved in detail, and a life lesson taught by experience.

All in all, the story stayed true to what a real pre-teen feels. They just get it. But the illustrations really sold the book. There is art in the way the paneling was put together, especially the pages where there are close-ups of random summer objects with a time stamp on the side. It’s so effective that you would feel the hours passing. It’s so pleasing to know that everything was made fit the summer in the story. You would feel the heat of the sun, the wave of the water, the breeze at night, the curiosity of a young girl — even the gloominess was a bit strapping.

The characters are distinct in features too. They are rendered almost realistically (to the point that it will make you wonder how much of it were referenced on real living people). You can even tell the color of their hair even if the whole book is printed in blue against the cream-colored paper.

Speaking of blue, the ink gives the feel of melancholy and siesta. It also brought back many childhood memories — it’s calming, light, but also heavy. It matched the storyline, which is bordering on contemplative. It gives the sadness in things unspoken and things that cannot be.

 

VERDICT
★★★★★★★
☆ (9/10)

Let’s all hope for a sequel, because after reading this I’m sure you would say the same thing: There’s just so much that were left unsaid. One summer is not enough.

Share us your thoughts about this book!

Photo by Elaine Catindig

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This One Summer
The Good
  • Storyline
  • Art
The Bad
  • May not be suitable for young readers
  • Let’s all hope for a sequel, because after reading this I’m sure you would say the same thing: There’s just so much that were left unsaid. One summer is not enough.
    9
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Elaine Catindig is editor-at-large and columnist of Doodle Arts. She is currently involved in the disruptive and transformative creative revolution of cross-media advertising where she works in an advertising agency. A long time blogger and writer, Elaine has written for The New Builder, NAMA, and other local independent magazines. Follow her art footprints, @elainecatindig.

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