This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki follows the story of Rose as she goes on her annual summer trip to Awago Beach. Unlike her other trips prior, this time there is arguing amongst the adults in her life, and she is in the middle of drama building around where is staying. Along with her friend Windy, Rose goes through a coming of age tale filled with friendship, angst, heartache, and secrets.
This book is incredible, with spectacular art, an amazing amount of heart, and genuine characters. From the beginning page, the mood is dropped on you in the best way possible; a memory of a previous visit. And with this scene you feel the amount of emotion put into this story. It’s feels real. It uses beautiful real moments, with art that is both cinematic and endearing. And the writing is great as well. It blends drama, emotion, and even some humor in a very graceful way, and it makes you invested in the characters Jillian and Mariko have set up. Speaking of the characters, they show development and genuine emotion, which I have probably mentioned before, but it is important to reiterate. The book itself brings out the majesty and adventure in the understanding and embrace of adolescence and innocence. It feels as though there is magic in the ordinary, in the little hangouts, to small outbursts. The story makes you feel like there is no such thing as an ordinary moment, or if there is one, it doesn’t feel mundane. You feel happy, or sad, or angry, or relaxed. Never just neutral. Or if you are neutral, you are at peace with it. I don’t know, maybe that’s just the vibe I got from it. It makes a small family vacation into an amazing, emotion filled tale, with incredible art, writing, and character. Nothing in the book felt one dimensional or flat, everything showed itself with detail and felt genuine, from the environment of Awago Beach, to the movie night exchanges between Rose and Windy. I highly recommend this book. You should definitely read it if you have the chance.
When reading this book, Lorde’s rendition of Swingin Party perfectly fit to me. It gives the mood of bittersweet happiness, which may sound negative when phrasing it that way, and it may not be the best way to describe it, but it really is an interesting feeling. The songs gives of this mood in the way the sound makes you feel enlightened, but grounded at the same time. Happy, but realizing your why you’re happy at the same time. I don’t really know how to describe it. The song is incredible. It gave me the feeling of finding the happiness and magic in the ordinary. Being okay. Knowing your situation. Knowing who you are, and being okay with it. I want to explain even further why it is such a good song, but, in some essence, it’s indescribable why it’s so good. Or at least, I feel like I wouldn’t be doing it justice if I tried. But anyway, it matched well with the mood of the book to me. The book gives the sense that there is majesty in the small moments. Rose and Windy are sometimes scared. Sometimes amused. Sometimes happy. Sometimes loving life. The book is grounded in realism, but the story and art give it an embracing and adventurous atmosphere. There are memories in the calm, and there are memories in the smallest little conversations in life. The book and the song both give off this sense. They are both incredible works of art, and the pairing makes complete sense, or at least, it does to me.
Notes/Moments (*SPOILER ALERT*)
This section is to point out some cool or noteworthy moments that happened in the book and why they are cool or noteworthy in detail, so if you haven’t read the book yet, you may want to hold off on reading this section just yet.
– There are a lot of instances where the most common of events one could do on a summer vacation, turn into cinematic and beautiful works of art. For instance, after playing the M.A.S.H. game and starting to run out to the beach, the scene takes an overhead view, showing Rose and Windy running on the beach in a wonderfully drawn landscape, showing the vastness of their environment. Or the scene with Windy dancing, and Rose nodding along. It showed the fun and happiness in this small moment. One moment that could look insignificant by some is shown in a great sense of happiness and importance. Losing themselves to the music. This happens again and again in the book. The beauty in the small moments. It’s really cool to see.
– Windy is my favorite character in the book. She isn’t just comedy relief, she is an actual friend, with an actual relationship with Rose and those vacationing with her. I’m glad she is more than just a side character, because her characterization is really well developed. She shows innocence, but in some instances, shows real maturity. That is another thing about the book, which I may have already mentioned; the characters are extremely well developed and are balanced with the timing of the story.
Guest reviewer: Nick