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This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

This One SummerThis One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The artwork was gorgeous and emotional. It won me over fast. 5 stars for the art.

The themes were excellent. This story is all about being on that cusp of a girl to becoming a woman, and figuring out what that means and how females are perceived by others, including what ideas and opinions they absorb from others, versus what opinions they form on their own. It’s that cross divide that comes between giggling and playing kids games in one moment, and doing and talking about really grown up things in the next moment. This element of the story is brilliant, and it comes with a bit of nostalgia for those of us who are grown up and remember those confusing times of sorting out not only what kind of human we wanted to be, but also what kind of woman we wanted to be, including whether we are who we are, or we are how people see us. For theme, the story also gets 5 stars.

The reason I gave it three stars, is because the actual storyline is so rough and sometimes very tedious. There’s no real plot. It’s more character driven, so you are just along for the ride. There are bright moments, but they are few and far between, and then there are pages where you just want to keep turning and not linger. I remember thinking several times that I was just ready to be done, and it’s not like it’s a lengthy read.

It’s not a particularly memorable story either, though I appreciate the grace in some of its subtlety. Also, there’s a limited number of people that I’d actually recommend this to, and I definitely wouldn’t read it again.

I think there’s some underlying brilliance here, but it ended up being more of a disconnect for me. I think there are some sections that could have easily been edited out to help the story, and had they added a few scenes that gave the story a bit more heft or urgency, that would have helped compel the reader to turn the page out of interest, instead of just out of obligation to power through.

Book 59 read in 2018

Pages: 320

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