This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

I loved this book. The illustrations are jaw dropping gorgeous with a storyline and characters that kept me fully captivated. 

Marino and Jillian Tamaki have captured the lethargic essence of summer. There is something timeless and universal in their portrayal of the two girls, Windy and Rose, as they wend their way through this one summer, hovering on the cusp of adolescence. They are caught in limbo between the innocence of their early years, and the inevitable shattering of it as they come of age. It's in the juxtaposition of their wisdom and naivety as they emulate the vocabulary and actions of the teens and adults around them. They are extras in the drama of teen pregnancy played out by the local youth and front row spectators to Rose's parent's conflict. All the while they are trying to figure out what's right, and oftentimes failing. 

I love the diversity of the characters the Tamaki cousins have shared with us. I love that while they all have faults, I came to care for them anyway. Some day I hope to be like Windy's grandmother, sipping virgin daiquiris with my grandchildren as we read books on the porch.  

This book resonated with me - not so much because I went away to the beach each summer, but because it takes me back to my own summers growing up in a small town, trying to figure out the behaviours of my older cousins and the adults around me. It reminds me that we are always on the cusp of growing up, no matter how old we are. 

I'm not sure if I will get a copy for our elementary library. If I do it will have to go on the grade seven shelf. If I taught in a high school, I'd contemplate a lit circle set. I can imagine all kinds of juicy conversations emerging from it.

I liked it so much, I think I'll go and read it again before I return it to the library. 

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