Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Graphic Novel/Fiction
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Amazon Vine for Review
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. It was a decent story, but not really the kind of thing I would normally read. If you are into realistic teen fiction, this might be a good graphic novel for you.
Every summer Rose goes with her parents to Awago Beach, every summer she meets up with her Awago Beach friend, Wendy, who is like the sister she never had. Wendy is a year younger than Rose and they have hung out all summer long for as long as they can remember. This summer is different though, Rose’s parents won’t stop fighting and Rose is started to get interested in the older boys who hang around town too…even though Wendy is still oblivious to boys in general.
This book is kind of like a teen soap opera. It’s a realistic fiction novel that does an excellent job of portraying the summer of two pre-teen girls. There is a lot of family drama as we (and Rose) try to figure out what her parents are fighting about. That is only one of the mysteries that unravels as the story progresses.
Rose is starting to get more interested in how she looks to others and in what boys think of her. Wendy is oblivious to it all and could care less. You can tell that this summer the girls’ friendship is more strained than normal. Rose develops a crush on a teenage boy who runs the convenience/video store. These leads to Wendy and Rose hanging around the video store where they rent horror movies they aren’t old enough to watch in an effort to impress the boys there.
So the summer ends up being spent with Rose dodging her parents and Rose and Wendy scaring themselves silly with horror films. More drama unfolds when they overhear the boy at the video talking about his girlfriend who he accidentally got pregnant.
I would recommend this for older young adults, even though our protagonist is a pre-teen. The teenagers that Wendy and Rose eavesdrop on talk a lot about sexual stuff in rather blunt and somewhat offensive slang. There is a boatload of swearing in these parts of the book as well. I mean it is pretty realistic, because you totally hear teens walking around talking like that. Just a warning to those who might be offended by that.
In keeping with the realistic theme of the book, there really isn’t an ending here…nothing is resolved. It’s pretty much left like real life. Rose leaves Awaga Beach and with her leaving she leaves both Wendy and all the other teenage drama behind.
The illustration is all done in tones of blue. It is very well drawn and it is easy to see the subtleties in the characters facial expressions and emotions. It is drawn in a fairly realistic style and not all that cartoony or stylized. The illustration adds a ton to the story.
Overall I enjoyed reading this book, although it is not something I would normally pick up. This is kind of one of those “a day/summer in the life of a teen girl” kind of books. Lots of day to day boredom interspersed with drama. There’s a lot in here about friendship, family dynamics, and growing up. If you are into that kind of thing I would definitely recommend this. It was a nice break from all the fantasy I usually read and did a really excellent job of capturing an accurate snapshot of a pre-teen girls’ slightly troubled summer.