This One Summer

Local Comic Shop
This graphic novel co-created between two cousins has been somewhat buzzy this summer. Because the whole aura surrounding this book is clearly "Summer-time memories" it was important that I read this book before summer technically ended. I live in Louisiana, and as anyone who has ever spent a full year on the Gulf Coast knows, "seasons" can be misleading.

This is a beautiful graphic novel about two childhood best friends who met every summer at their coastal cabins, catching up on the past year. This really does remind me very strongly of my own childhood - spending weekends at my Godmother's beach house and those special friends who, even if you only see them on rare occasions, being around them is like they were never apart. Even listening to Rush with my Dad and not being able to appreciate it (yet) - in fact it's one of those strange and very specific coincidences that I have in common with this book.
They are now on the cusp of adolescence, which is a formative time for most people. There are the obviously, glaringly regrettable childhood crushes. The parroting disdain for parents who are having marital troubles. The discovery of horror movies. The things they see and feel this summer will likely mold who they will become later on. Or, at least, that's what I couldn't stop thinking as I was reading all the small-town, everyday drama which seems so much bigger at this age. Unlike with most YA, reading this felt more nostalgic than something I was reading for funsies even knowing that I was reading something I was too old for.

Then there's the beautiful art. Not only are the characters fluid, expressive, and interesting to look at - the background art (something that I'm not personally very strong at drawing) is just as beautiful. I'm very very jealous of Jillian's skill. You want to absorb the art through your eyes as much as possible - you don't want to look away, but you're also too excited to see what's in the next panel. That's a good feature in comic books that you can't find in a traditional novel - when each individual panel is choc-a-bloc full of information and detail and you just can't look away from it. It's visual poetry.

This graphic novel is classified as Young Adult, but I'm not sure I would share this one with kids - not because it's particularly inappropriate or maybe I'm taking for granted the maturity of your child. There's nothing particularly wrong with sharing this with kids (except for some objectionable language) Rather, because I feel like until a certain age, they don't have the backwards perception to appreciate it. So you could read it at 15 and dislike it until you read it again at 30 and it clicks - some books can be like that.

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