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Monday, August 27, 2018

All Summer Long, by Hope Larson. Farrar Straus Giroux, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2018. $16.99 ages 12 and up

" I'm sorry! I - I didn't think
anyone was home!

So you thought, "Hey! I'll 
just break in!"?

I'm locked out of my house,

So go break in there!"

It's the summer between seventh and eighth grade, Its beginning is not promising for Bina. Her best friend is off to soccer camp, leaving her to spend quiet summer days alone. She and Austin have been best friends since they were babies. She is worried about what she will do without him. It turns out that being by herself leaves time for Bina to make her own choices for the way to spend her days.

She watches so much TV her parents put a stop to it. Her enthusiasm for music leads her to listening to favorite new bands, and to working on her own guitar skills. She loves her electric guitar and she makes great progress. She is surprised to make new friends, and is thrilled to welcome a new baby into the family. She gains independence, but she is concerned with the lack of communication from Austin, and is uncertain about how things will be when he returns. It has taken hard work to move forward without having Austin around all summer. The two work it out, remaining friends while also pursuing their individual interests. Bina realizes that she has grown into being herself ... more confident and ready for a new chapter in eighth grade. And her own band!

In a graphic novel that explores conflict, relationships, family, and growth while doing so with a good dose of humor and realistic dialogue, Hope Larson ably exhibits emotional change and brings the diverse community where Bina and her family live to full life for her readers. 

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