Larson, Hope. All Summer Long. Hope Larson, Illus. Graphic. Farrar, 06/2018. 172pp. $12.99. 978-0-374-31071-4. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 5-8.
Mixed-race Bina must spend the start of summer on her own when her best friend unexpectedly goes away to camp, leaving her to fill the hours and make a new friend. Although she starts by avoiding her summer reading and binge-watching British TV, a silly accident leads Bina to a budding friendship with Charlie, her best friend’s older sister. Making friends with a teenager proves challenging for this middle schooler: Bina admires Charlie’s maturity, but a series of lies and deceit gives way to a falling-out between the girls. As the summer progresses, Bina also struggles with a strained friendship with her best friend. Her parents haven’t much time for her as her brother prepares to adopt a baby with his husband. She finds comfort in music and playing the guitar, which birth new inspiration and opportunities by the end. Larson uses a two-tone palette of orange and white, depicting the warm, lazy glow of summer. All Summer Long shows a tween negotiating independence, isolation, and interpersonal challenges during the open expanse of summer. This book has California-specific content.
Lolade Gbadebo, Oakland Public Library