All Summer Long
All Summer Long is the kind of teen summer story I can get behind. Bina isn’t going to camp or on vacation. Instead, she’s left in town to do not much of anything. The past few summers, she and neighbor / best friend Austin have spent the whole season together, but he’s off to soccer camp. His lack of response to her messages contributes to her feeling of loneliness.
That’s why she’s surprised to find herself with something in common with Austin’s older sister Charlie, who’s facing her own disappointment. She’s lost out on her desired summer lifeguard job because of a broken arm. Thankfully, Bina has her music. She’s discovered a new band and is playing her guitar.
I love Hope Larson’s graphic novels because they explore strong emotions, but never the predictable ones. She’s got an amazing grasp on human nature, creating realistic, well-realized characters, and the talent to share these observations with the reader. Their interactions aren’t predictable, although they’re purposeful.
I also love her sly sense of humor. For example, Bina is banned from the family streaming service “Infiniflix” because she’s spending all her time binging “British Teen Private Eye”, and her parents notice because she starts speaking in English slang.
The monochrome golden yellow gives the whole thing a sun-washed atmosphere. The pages have a higher-than-average number of panels, which makes the story feel more substantial, yet they’re easy to read, never drawing attention to the skilled art techniques for their own sake.
Bina goes through some difficult feelings. She’s becoming more herself, and some people don’t get along with that, but she’s encouraged to be true to what she wants and feels, a terrific message. She finds herself in her creativity, and it’s inspiring to read about her experience and struggle.
All Summer Long can be reordered from your local comic shop with Diamond code JUL21 1663. The second book in the series is All Together Now, and the third, All My Friends, is due out at the end of September. It can be ordered in paperback (JUL21 1661) or hardcover (JUL21 1662).