All Summer Long by Hope Larson | Pretty Good Middle Grade Graphic Novel About Friendship and Music (ARC Review)

All Summer Long
Hope Larson

Published May 1st, 2018 by First Second
Middle Grade | Graphic Novel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel about summer and friendships, written and illustrated by the Eisner Award–winning and New York Times–bestselling Hope Larson.

Thirteen-year-old Bina has a long summer ahead of her. She and her best friend, Austin, usually do everything together, but he’s off to soccer camp for a month, and he’s been acting kind of weird lately anyway. So it’s up to Bina to see how much fun she can have on her own. At first it’s a lot of guitar playing, boredom, and bad TV, but things look up when she finds an unlikely companion in Austin’s older sister, who enjoys music just as much as Bina. But then Austin comes home from camp, and he’s acting even weirder than when he left. How Bina and Austin rise above their growing pains and reestablish their friendship and respect for their differences makes for a touching and funny coming-of-age story.

(from Goodreads)

All Summer Long follows a girl named Bina over the course of a summer as she navigates friendships and music and growing up. It’s a fun, quick read, and I would recommend it to any kid who likes realistic fiction graphic novels. Its universal themes make it easy to relate to, and I think a lot of kids would identify with the awkwardness Bina experiences within her friendships as she gets older. (I did!)

One of my favorite things about All Summer Long is that it features a COMPLETELY PLATONIC best friendship between a girl and a boy. Bina and her BFF Austin hang out all the time, and though they have different interests and are sometimes a little awkward, they’re ultimately super close friends. This is absolutely something I would love to see more of in middle grade and ya. So many people have friendships with people of another gender, and while romance is totally fine, it’s unrealistic how often boy-girl friendships turn into romance in books. Not to mention the teasing kids have to face if they’re friends with someone who’s not the same gender as them! Reading books like All Summer Long helps chip away at the stupid idea that girls and boys can’t be friends.

Another thing I loved about this book was the focus on music. Bina listens to records and goes to a concert and plays guitar and I loved it! All the music made for a really fun vibe, which is something I tried to represent with my book aesthetic, along with the orange color scheme of the book:

All Summer Long

Photo Credits: here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The art style was fine—good, but not my absolute favorite. All in all, All Summer Long was light and fun, and I definitely enjoyed the close friendship and the theme of music.

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Will you be picking up All Summer Long? What’s something you’d like to see more of in books?

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not in any way influence my opinion.

All Summer Long

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