cover image All Summer Long

All Summer Long

Hope Larson. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $21.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-374-31071-4

About-to-be-eighth-graders Bina and Austin have been friends ever since they can remember, but now Austin is at soccer camp, posting bro pics on social media and ignoring Bina’s texts. Austin’s intimidating, sardonic older sister, Charlie, is stuck at home with a broken arm and seems willing to hang out—unless the boy she likes shows up. When Charlie shows a nasty side and Austin continues to cold-shoulder Bina even after he gets back, Bina struggles, though warm words and sweet gestures from friends and family help her through. Most crucial is the portrait that Larson (Mercury) draws of Bina as a guitarist and songwriter, a musician whose deepest fulfillment comes from within herself. “Lots of people spend forever looking for something they care about. Sometimes they never find it,” Bina’s older brother Davey tells her, “but you already have.” Larson’s graphic novel zeroes in on conversational encounters, with dialogue that’s fresh and funny (“You’re a stone-cold psycho and I kinda admire that,” Charlie tells Bina when they begin to hang out), and her close-up drawings of expressive faces add intimacy to the interchanges she captures. Ages 10–12. [em](May) [/em]