Cottage Nostalgia: This One Summer

Did your family have a cottage growing up? Did you go there during the summer to swim and play on the beach with your “cottage friend”? Did you and that friend grow up together, feeling out how you still fit together for that one week each year as you both grew and changed?

Well then oh boy, get ready for the nostalgia. This One Summer follows Rose, a young teenager who is off to her family cottage for the summer. The cast of characters also includes Windy, Rose’s “cottage friend”, Rose’s parents, who are going through some tough adult stuff, and the older teenagers in town, who have a whole drama of their own unfold, captivating the attention of the younger girls.

The girls in this book are at an age that, while it’s been about ten years since I was that age, felt so familiar: playing MASH, pretending that scary movies don’t scare you, trying to learn everything you can about your body and the adult world around you. They’re just kids trying to figure everything out, and they are written in a believable way.

This One Summer is a quiet book, placing more importance on the atmosphere of the location and the feelings of Rose than a rock-solid plot. Of course there is plot – but it takes a backseat to the emotional journey of the book, which is conveyed incredibly through the characters and artwork.

The entire book is colored in a monochromatic purple-blue and is gorgeous. There are many times throughout the story where we are able to take a pause from the main goings-ons and get a full-page spread of just art, and it is magical.

Tough subjects are touched on, from sexuality and slut shaming to mental illness and depression. This One Summer could be an impactful read for adolescents, and was certainly impactful to me as an adult.