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Review of All Summer Long

All Summer Long
by Hope Larson; illus. by the author
Middle School    Farrar    172 pp.
5/18    978-0-374-30485-0    $21.99
Paper ed.  978-0-374-31071-4    $12.99

This sensitive, realistic coming-of-age graphic novel by Eisner winner (most recently, for her Wrinkle in Time graphic novel adaptation) Larson beautifully captures the experiences of finding one’s own rhythm and place in a family and among changing friendships. It’s the summer before eighth grade. Bina’s longtime BFF and next-door neighbor Austin, away at soccer camp, stops responding to her texts. Bored and impressionable, Bina starts hanging out with Charlie, Austin’s older sister, who shares her love of music. Bina is pushed outside of her comfort zone, into babysitting gigs, flirting with boys, and other awkward, true-to-life situations. Through it all, Bina has her guitar, which she plays in reflective, private moments. When Austin returns from camp, the two must confront what is going on with their friendship — still platonic — and how it will evolve as they grow older. Dialogue (shown through texts, phone conversations, and traditional speech bubbles) is both endearing and believable. Close-up images of chord fingerings at the start of each chapter reflect progressions in both time and melody, while the use of a monochromatic palette with sunny oranges brings to mind sunrises and sunsets, beginnings and endings. Unobtrusive panels and lettering allow Larson’s depictions of small, indelible moments of summer (playing mini-golf, becoming a first-time aunt, and seeing a favorite band play a gig) to shine. Give this to fans of This One Summer (rev. 7/14), Roller Girl (rev. 3/15), and The First Rule of Punk (rev. 7/17).

From the July/August 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards.

About Elisa Gall

Elisa Gall is the Youth Collection Development Librarian at the Deerfield Public Library in Illinois.

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