Book Reviews

Mini-Reviews — Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral and This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki


Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral
This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki

Book title: Chopsticks
Author: Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin Group USA)
Release date: February 2012
Format: Paperback, 272 pages
Source: Library.



After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness. Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song “Chopsticks.”

But nothing is what it seems, and Glory’s reality is not reality at all. In this stunningly moving novel told in photographs, pictures, and words, it’s up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along….

Banner - The Mini-Review

Chopsticks is an utterly unique and whimsical story told entirely through pictures. It’s a love story, but also a sad story about the lives of two teenagers that begin to spin out of control. I’m sure there are many ways to interpret what happened in the end, as the book doesn’t really have much closure. I enjoyed Chopsticks and was definitely moved by it, but it ultimately didn’t blow me away like I wanted it to. Maybe my expectations were set too high. While I did feel like Glory and Frank were very real people, I think it was a bit tedious piecing together their story myself. I still highly recommend Chopsticks. I just believe it’s not a book for everyone, but that should definitely be given a chance by everyone. ♦

Book title: This One Summer
Author: Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
Publisher: First Second (Roaring Book Press)
Release date: May 2014
Format: Paperback, 319 pages
Source: Library.




Rose and her parents have been going to Awago Beach since she was a little girl. It’s her summer getaway, her refuge. Her friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had, completing her summer family.

But this summer is different.

Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and Rose and Windy have gotten tangled up in a tragedy-in-the-making in the small town of Awago Beach. It’s a summer of secrets and heartache, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

In This One Summer, cousins Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind the award-winning Skim, redefine the teen graphic novel. Gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, This One Summer is a vibrant view into girlhood and growing up.

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Again, another book that suffers from hype and high expectations, but that doesn’t live up to it all (at least, not to me). This One Summer is about growing up, to put it simply. Rose and her friend Windy, teenagers, start experiencing and witnessing events that force them to start dealing with adult themes and feelings. I wasn’t very interested in the story, truth be told. I don’t normally gravitate toward books that are in the contemporary genre without much plot, that just focus on growing up and dealing with life, usually when you’re no longer young enough to be shielded from it. The artwork, while greatly drawn, was a constant blue color palette. I like my graphic novels to have vibrant colors, and the muted blue tones here made everything seem somber and sad, perhaps more than they need to be. This One Summer is definitely a good book, but it just wasn’t my type of story. ♦

Banner - So Tell Me

Have you read Chopsticks?
How about This One Summer?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What is a coming-of-age type book you’ve recently read?
And do you prefer graphic novels that are fun adventures or that are mature “slice of life” stories?
Comment below letting me know
And, as always, happy reading!

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