Review: This One Summer

Cory Doctorow reviews Jillian and Mariko Tamaki's brilliant coming-of-age graphic novel for young adults.

This One Summer is a beautiful, haunting young-adult graphic novel by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, cousins from Toronto whose work spans media from prose to film to comics.

It's the story of Rose and Windy, a pair of adolescent girls who are "summer friends," meeting every year in a lakeside cottage-town where their families rent adjacent summer places. This year, Rose and Windy's lives are in the liminal state between girlhood and adolescence, something they're both painfully aware of, but unable to readily admit.

The Tamakis spin a story that is every bit as bittersweet as the great coming-of-age stories, a modern Stand By Me or Breakfast Club. Jillian Tamaki's art is spectacular in an understated and finely controlled way, an economy of line that reveals deep emotion and movement through hints and glimpses. And Mariko Tamaki's writing manages to wind together a small-town love-story, a parental marriage on the rocks, and the weird world of sexuality seen from the near side of puberty into a whole that is both dreamily nostalgic and immediate and sharp.

This One Summer is one of those books with the power to change young peoples' lives, to become a guidebook and a touchstone through adolescent turbulence. It's wonderful.


This One Summer

Published 6:00 am Tue, May 6, 2014

About the Author

I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

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