While many of us are currently finding ourselves staring Fall in the face as we start school, enjoy our last beach day, or prepare for Ladies Con, it’s hard to remember that summer is technically not over yet. Well, at least it isn’t over officially until September 23rd, the first day of Fall. So until that time, there might be those of you out there holding onto summer with everything they have – and I’m here to help you with that. I have three get reading suggestions that will not only help you remember how the warm summer sun feels, but also how it can make you feel like no other season can.
This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
A coming of age story about Rose and her summer friend Windy, and how perspectives and feelings can change as we find ourselves getting older.
Mini Review: I realize that my description there is a little vague, but there’s a lot going on in this book, including a great depiction of the two young girls trying to understand the complex adult relationships they observe around them. Leaving childhood behind can feel complicated and even at times scary. Yet it’s also a time of discovery. The girls experience tension in their friendship as their 15 month age difference starts to feel more extreme than it has felt before. If you like realistic stories with intricate and expansive art, this is for you.
All Summer Long by Hope Larsen
Another coming of age summer story, but this time the main relationship is between Bina and her best friend, Austin. When Bina discovers that Austin will be attending soccer camp for a month that summer, she finds herself wondering how she is going to spend her summer without her partner in crime.
While Austin is gone, Bina spends some time connecting with her love of music and hanging out with Austin’s older sister. Austin then returns after his month away and Bina discovers that their relationship doesn’t feel quite the same as it did before he left. Bina and Austin now need to find a way to reconnect and build a different kind of friendship.
Mini Review: Bina is a relatable girl who really has some great moments of self-discovery while her friend is away. On her own, she gets a chance to better understand what has meaning for her (her love of music and family). Friendships often change as people grow older and apart, and Larsen does a great job of presenting this in an organic and natural way. The end feels quite satisfying and the artwork is just delightful with its limited color palette and intimate close-ups.
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
Vera is a Russian-immigrant kid trying to fit in with the rest of the kids in suburbia. And when she sees all the other kids going off to camp for the summer, Vera persuades her mother into sending her to a Russian Orthodox Camp. The problem is this – camp isn’t quite what she expected and frankly, she isn’t so sure that she likes it.
Mini-review: This is a great book for those who didn’t quite get what they expected from their summer camp experiences. Camp for Vera isn’t a magical place where she suddenly fits in and she finds herself. And that’s what makes this book so refreshing. There are a lot of moments of discomfort, but rewarding moments too. It feels honest while still creating a full story that remains satisfying.
Brogsol’s art is a ton of fun, and at times wide-eyed and cartoony – almost reminding the reader that it’s ok to laugh along with the book. The result is something so charming and almost bouncy that you might be surprised by how quick a read this can be.
Do you have any book recommendations you’d like to share as we say farewell to summer? Share them in the comments below!