This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

18465566I can’t shake it, so I’ll say it: this book felt like STAND BY ME with female protagonists.

What I loved:

  • The intimate picture of a family in a place they love
  • The intimate picture of family drama–and the way their specific drama dovetails with the drama that Rose witnesses at the convenience store
  • The gorgeous art, especially when Rose tries to lose herself in the water
  • The redemption that Rose’s mom experiences during the rescue

What I found complicated: the age of the book. It won a Printz honor, so I’m supposed to consider it YA, but I’d actually call it upper-middle-grade. It doesn’t ring true for a high school reader; these are middle-grade concerns: family and a character’s place in it, watching what the “big kids” do, hanging out with younger (much younger) friends, talking about training bras.

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