On the surface, this might seem an odd graphic novel to choose for #Diversiverse. The main characters are both white, for instance, but does that mean diverse authors can't write about them? Certainly not.
One of the most important things, to me, about reading diversely, is reading about diverse experiences and to see what authors of diverse backgrounds include in their work, thematically, that resonates with me. That can resonate with all of us!
In This One Summer, Rose goes to Awago Beach for a lake house vacation with her parents just like all the years before. She's excited to see her friend Windy who is always there, too. But this one summer, Rose's parents won't stop fighting, her mom has a hard time getting out of bed each day, and even a visit from her spirited aunt and uncle can't make things right. Windy and Rose escape the tension at home by observing the local teens and their dramas, watching horror movies that are way too mature for them, and generally trying to navigate their emotional growing pains.
It's hard to pinpoint why I loved this graphic novel so much. It's just a lovely examination of growing up. It's also a good look at Othering, no matter what background you're from. Rose and Windy certainly feel Othered in their own ways. Rose is alienated from her parents, Windy is alienated by the fact that she's adopted, and both girls are alienated in the face of some crass locals and their personal dramas. Along with that Othering comes a profound sense of loneliness for each of the characters for their own very personal reasons.
Ultimately this is an examination of universal themes that everyone can relate to. The written story is fantastic, and the artwork is just as effective. Drawn in dark purple, black, and navy blue, it's a moody atmosphere with dramatic contrasts and shading. It reflects all of the nuances in these girls' lives so wonderfully and creates a perfectly put-together reading experience.
Now I can't wait to read their other graphic novel, Skim!
Thanks so much to Aarti for hosting this fantastic #Diversiverse event! Click to read reviews and link up your own!
Pub. Date: May 2014
Publisher: First Second