Kinokuniya has the biggest selection of foreign books in Japan, and they were having a big sale on YA and a bunch of other stuff, so of course I had to visit! I didn’t see anything I wanted on sale, but I did sit down on an uncomfortable little stool and read all of This One Summer without being disturbed. Most of their graphic novels and all of the translated manga is wrapped in cellophane, but there was a preview copy of this one available, so I picked it up after reading about it on Stacked while I was still stuck at work.
This was a good summer read, but I wouldn’t take it to the beach. It was slow and dreamy, in a good way; a great compliment to the misty rain outside. A lot happened, but if you asked me what it was about, all I could tell you is “this one summer, where Rose and Windy grow up a little bit.” Or maybe they’ve been growing up a lot over the year between when they see each other when they stay at Awago Beach, and now their friendship is a little different. It’s an in-between point: the girls meet and spend time together over summer vacations at the beach, and this summer is in between childhood and adolescence; Windy is younger and more immature, but she’s also more adventurous and eager to explore, while Rose is more grown-up, but also a little more reserved.
Rose and Windy’s families only stay on Awago Beach for the summertime. Rose’s family owns a cabin, and Windy’s family rents, but they’re summer people. The contrast between their lives on the beach and the lives of the people who live there year round was understated – everything in this book was understated – but it drew me in, made me wonder. My family had a tiny cabin on a beach when I was younger, but it was still in Vermont, where we lived anyway, and Vermont doesn’t have tidal changes of summer and winter people, but now my mom lives on Cape Cod year round. I can’t say what it made me think, only that it made me think.
The art was beautiful, and the blue-on-sepia was a perfect choice for the atmosphere of the story. I’m leaving out a lot of the subplots, because there are many and to write about them all would take all day.
I think I want this one for the high school library; certainly, it isn’t appropriate for my elementary schoolers, but I think it might be a good intro to graphic novels for people who think it’s all Marvel and manga.