Review: All Summer Long
In late June, the conversation in the I.S. 278 Library (aside from… is your library account clear? And what will you read over the summer?) surrounded summer plans. The plans varied. Some kids had vacation plans with family or summer camp. Others though said they were just hanging out, much like Bina in Hope Larson’s All Summer Long. (And I can’t believe school is starting in some parts of the country!)
All Summer Long
By Hope Larson.
Farrar Straus Giroux. 2018. ISBN 9780374304850
HC, $21.99. 172pp.
Grades 6 and up
When Bina’s best friend, Austin, abandons their usual summer plans to go to camp, it leaves Bina on her own. In the past, they had a system in place where they scored their fun. But at 13, Austin feels they’ve outgrown that anyway. Bina isn’t all that ready to move on, but she has no choice.
While Austin is gone, Bina flounders. Until one day, she accidentally locks herself out of her house and breaks in to Austin’s house to find her spare key. She’s caught by Austin’s sister, Charlie, and the two form an unlikely friendship. Charlie and Austin hang out as Charlie deals with her boyfriend woes and Bina tries to find her place. Ultimately, this is Bina’s journey of self-realization, finding a self outside of her very best friend. Bina allows herself to pursue her own interests outside of Austin without sacrificing her friendship with him.
The artwork is a bit quiet. With a yellow/peach/brown color filling in the drawings, perhaps it was meant to be reminiscent of the beach or sun. But the energetic and expressive faces enhance the storytelling as so much of the story surrounds emotion – whether it’s Bina’s trying to find her footing without her best friend or Charlie trying to navigate romance woes.
Middle school and early high school readers will really enjoy this story. Perhaps there’s still time to read this on the beach… as the waning days of summer vacation continue.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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