Wednesday, May 30, 2018

All Summer Long

All Summer Long is a story about adolescence and relationships. Bina is thirteen years old, and during the summer after seventh grade, her life starts changing in all sorts of ways. To start with, her best friend and next door neighbor Austin is going away for a month to summer camp. Not only does his absence leave a void in her typical social life, he also has been  acting weirdly of late.

After a set of circumstances, Bina ends up hanging out with Austin's older sister Charlie. Charlie is typically loud and obnoxious, but she and Bina like the same kind of music, so they bond over that. Over time though, Bina learns that Charlie might be using her to get out and also see her sort-of-boyfriend Jae.
Ah, sibling love!
What I admired most about this book was how it handled its characters and their interactions. As you can see, the situations they are dealing with are pretty ordinary and relatable. I was impressed by how well developed and interesting all the characters were, not falling into stock stereotypes but surprising me with how they respond to particular situations. Also, there is lots of clever dialogue and interesting conversation. Oftentimes, when a comic depends on text heavily, it can be a slog, but this one is a joy to read, moving along at a crisp and effervescent pace. I very much liked getting to know these characters, and better yet, this volume is the first of three, so I'll get more chances to see how they mature and evolve.

This book's creator Hope Larson is an Eisner Award winner for her adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. She also has written and drawn the young adult story Chiggers. She has written a number of comics, notably the graphic novels Knife's Edge and Compass South, as well as comic book series, one about a teen detective Goldie Vance and the other a run on DC Comics' Batgirl. She speaks about her work on All Summer Long in this interview.

All the reviews I have read about this book have been very positive. In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews summed it up as "a coming-of-age story as tender and sweet as a summer evening breeze." Elizabeth Bush called it a "compact but deftly developed graphic novel." Publishers Weekly praised the character work as well as "dialogue that’s fresh and funny."

All Summer Long was published by Farrar Straus Giroux, and they offer a preview and more here.

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

No comments:

Post a Comment