There is no denying the brilliance of Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, especially when they join forces. The cousins, whose first graphic-novel collaboration, Skim, was a 2008 Q&Q Book of the Year (Mariko’s YA novel (You) Set Me on Fire was also a pick for 2012), demonstrate in each effort their complete understanding of teendom, and don’t shy away from its harsher realities.
This One Summer (Groundwood) captures two cottage-country friends as they teeter on the verge of adolescence, the girls’ experiences relayed through Jillian’s dynamic illustrations and Mariko’s pitch-perfect text. Though both women are talented in their own right, to separate their contributions here is pointless: the book is the product of a hive-mind creative genius and reads as a complete package. Here’s hoping the Tamaki cousins see fit to work together again soon.