“This One Summer” by Mariko Tamaki, illus. by Jillian Tamaki

This One SummerGenre:

Contemporary; young adult

Goodreads overview:

Rose and her parents have been going to Awago Beach since she was a little girl. It’s her summer getaway, her refuge. Her friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had, completing her summer family.

But this summer is different.

Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and Rose and Windy have gotten tangled up in a tragedy-in-the-making in the small town of Awago Beach. It’s a summer of secrets and heartache, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

My thoughts: (spoilers)

I went into this one blind, which I think is the best thing to do. I didn’t even read the overview of the book. I picked it up out of curiosity: BookTubers have said it’s a good story and since it was available at my library I thought to give it a shot. I’m glad I did.

There’s a lot of emotion packed in, which I also didn’t expect. The beginning gives the impression that Rose and her family are going on a regular summer vacation, which they are, but as the story progresses, we see that the veneer of normalcy is used to cover the underlying tension within the family that stems from Rose’s mother’s depression.

It was sad to see the mother struggle with her burden and see the father and Rose try to be understanding but eventually lose patience and become angry. I got the impression that it is difficult, sometimes, for parents to find space to deal with their emotional problems alone or to avoid having it deeply affect the rest of the family. One of my favorite parts was toward the end when Rose’s mom dives in the ocean to save Jenny, which helped to heal her.

Water has always been used in stories as a substance for cleansing or washing away guilt or sins or worries and such was the case here. It is also used as a substance for healing and that’s what happened for Rose’s mom. It’s as if she was baptized and given a new life, if one were to look at it from a Christian point of view. Also, it’s a bit ironic the ocean does this because her depression stems from losing a baby in that same water she has since refused to enter and the girl she saves attempted suicide in the ocean because of pressure from a pregnancy. It’s interesting that returning to the beginning of her suffering worked as a catharsis for Rose’s mom.

My other favorite parts were all the moments where Rose and Windy just hung out and had fun relaxing in each other’s company. I enjoyed reading of their little adventures and seeing them form their own opinions about the world and the teenage drama they overhear. Rose and Windy are preteens. With them at that age, it’s easy to see how kids are influenced by culture and what they observe, such as them calling Jenny a slut because of what the teens say. However, of the two, Windy is my favorite. She is so carefree and honest. Rose can be a little mean, but I think that’s because of what her family is going through. While reading, I wondered if Windy was once molested or something because of how she acts when sexual topics are raised and when the guys are around. But maybe she just doesn’t feel comfortable at that time since she is a little younger than Rose. I don’t know.

At first, I was annoyed that we only get a peek into the characters’ lives for a few days. It was obvious that that would be the structure of the story from pretty early on, but by the end, I was glad I’d read it and was craving more.

Art style:

Here’s another thing I didn’t expect to like — the art. I don’t know how to describe the style so see the pictures below, but usually I don’t like it. I love it here, though. My favorite frames are the ones that mostly show the landscape and vegetation. I like how the characters are drawn as well, especially Windy because she has a lot of movement, but the faces threw me off sometimes.

The color is good too. Instead of the usual black ink, we have navy blue. To me it makes the illustrations less stark because the dark blue ink seems softer. That’s probably why I like the art style here.

Overall: ★★★★☆ 1/2

It is a wonderful book about girlhood, growing up, overcoming guilt, and battling depression. Though it tackles difficult topics and can be emotional at times, it also has a light-hearted tone in some parts because it’s still about a summer spent at the beach having fun with friends.

It’s a good read that’s perfect for the summer and I recommend it. I hope there will be a sequel and more books from Jillian and Mariko.

Book Haul #28: Comics! posters and such

It’s time for another book haul. I went on a comic-book-buying craze recently that started with me listening to Season 2, Episode 28 of Writing Excuses where the hosts of the podcast discuss Watchmen, a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons with colors by John Higgins. By the end of the show, I wanted to read Watchmen so I took myself to my local comic book shop, where I not only got Watchmen, but also picked up a book I’ve wanted ever since featuring it in a Wishes for My TBR post.


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What Would You Eat While Reading This…?

I was recently contacted by Shari’s Berries, an online retailer of dessert treats such as chocolate-dipped strawberries and cake pops (yum!), to feature an infographic they created that pairs 20 books with desserts.

Pairings range from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with tea biscuits and jam to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with apple pie and ice cream. By the time I was done reading, I was craving the treats and wistful for old books I’ve read like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, which was paired with Turkish Delight, of course, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby that’s best read with some lemon cake nearby.

Well, don’t let me keep you. Take a look at the infographic and tell me which pairing appeals to you the most.

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Intergalactic Book Tag

I haven’t posted much all week so I thought I’d do a tag post. Tags are great for blogging lulls and procrastination. They are also fun; well, I find them to be fun. Anyways, I found this a while back on Rachel’s blog, Life of a Female Bibliophile. It’s one of those tags that was created to promote a book: in this case, Starflight by Melissa Landers, which is a young-adult science-fiction novel. I haven’t read it but I sure love the cover!

Space: Name a book that is out of this world – that takes place in a world different from our own.

Snow Like Ashes

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Diversebookbloggers Feature: Zezee with Books

I’m excited to share that I was featured in the DiverseBookBloggers Feature, a bi-weekly post on Brown Books and Green Tea that promotes diversity in the book blogging community. Check it out!😀

brown books | green tea

diversebookbloggers (2)It’s that time of the month again! Here’s yet another fantastic Diverse Book Blogger feature, this time featuring Anaïs from Zezee with Books

  1. behold-the-dreamersTell us a little bit about your blog, Zezee with Books! Does it have a specific focus?
    Zezee with Books is simply a blog of my interests. It mostly focuses on books, but sometimes I feature artwork either by me or artists I like and sometimes I discuss TV shows I watch (if the show has upset me in some way). I publish a variety of posts including discussions and book reviews, which I often refer to as reflections because I use my blog as a journal for what I read.
  2. There’s a “60 Classics in 5 Years challenge on your blog– which diverse classics are you reading, and how has reading diversely changed your idea of what a “classic” book really is?

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“Every Heart a Doorway” by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a DoorwayMy mind was in a weird place when I reached for this book, but I was glad to find it the perfect story to satiate it. Every Heart a Doorway tickled my brain cells and made me think of some weird shit; weird because the story is based in our world and it gives credence to the impossible and the fantastic and validates our odd quirks.

Quick overview:

Every Heart a Doorway is a fantasy, young-adult novella that packs a punch. It’s about kids who make it back to the real world after visiting magical ones and how they cope with readjusting to a normal life.

The story is told from the perspective of Nancy, a teenaged girl who recently returned from the Halls of the Dead, as she tries to adjust to her new school, Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, a boarding school for children who have returned from other worlds. Eleanor West is an older woman who started the school because she understands what such children endure. She provides a sanctuary for them. Of course, she doesn’t tell parents this. Instead, she tells parents and guardians, who often are unaware of the magical realms, that she can help their troubled charges adjust. That she can “fix” them.

Shortly after Nancy arrives at the school, the students’ lives are threatened and Nancy becomes a prime suspect because of her connection to the Halls of the Dead.

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Picture This: Reflecting Diversity in Children’s Book Publishing

While on Facebook, I found a link to this great blog post that features an updated illustration of diversity in children’s books. It uses recent statistics from 2015.


At the 2016 ALA Annual Conference, author Tameka Fryer Brown presented the Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s (CCBC) multicultural publishing statistics during the panel “Celebrating Diversity: The Brown Bookshelf Salutes Great Books for Kids.” She displayed Tina Kügler’s oft-cited 2012 infographic, with the comment that even though the numbers are now 4 years old, the image communicated inequity in publishing so well that she would use it at every opportunity.

Just before ALA Annual, St. Catherine University MLIS Program assistant professor Sarah Park Dahlen had posted to Facebook asking if anyone knew of an updated illustration, but Kügler’s was the only one anyone knew about. Friends said they would be happy to support an illustrator to create an update. Author/teacher Molly Beth Griffin saw Sarah’s post and queried her Twin Cities Picture Book Salon to see if anyone would be interested; David Huyck (pronounced “hike”) responded, and a…

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