This One Summer-Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki

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That gorgeously awkward time of pubescence, when your belly is a little watermelon and your breasts are still non existent. Or maybe you are more of the bean-stalk variety, all lines and no curves. Either way the hormones are waking up and thoughts of sex are stirring.

This graphic novel, taps into that time. A time when Rose is at the cabin with her family. Her mother is depressed and her parents are often fighting but she has her  friend Windy to escape with.

They spend their summer vicariously, by watching Duncan the corner store boy kiss and later come into conflict with his girlfriend. They spend their summer watching the unfathomable dynamics of their parents.

It seems their lives are simple, watching horror movies, eating licorice while the “adults” lives swirl with conflict and miscommunication.

This graphic novel felt real, raw, and on point. I saw my younger self in Rose. That girl who was trying on opinions that were too big for her. That girl that used the word slut to shame other girls, because she felt inferior. Because she thought it was what you were supposed to do. And it’s clear, though never said, that Rose likes Duncan. Or at least wants to be desired by him. In Rose you can see that keeping your cards close to the chest. That never admit liking or you become vulnerable to ridicule mentality. The insecurity of becoming a sexual being.

I highly recommend this graphic novel, both the writing and the images capture that slice of adolescence with exquisite realness.

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