All Summer Long by Hope Larson. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2018. 9780374310714. 172pp.
I loved this amazing middle grade graphic novel by Hope Larson (A Wrinkle in Time, Batgirl, Chiggers, and my favorite of hers, Salamander Dream). Bina (13) is stuck at home and all alone after finishing 7th grade when her best friend and next door neighbor Austin (also 13) heads for soccer camp. They’re growing up and may be growing apart — Austin doesn’t want to participate in calculating their Combined Summer Fun Index anymore, and seems to be looking ahead to high school rather than their last year in middle school. But she starts to get seriously good on her electric guitar, and finds a few bands she really likes. Has she found her thing, music? Are things about to get weird between her and Austin? Can she really be friends with Austin’s older sister, Charlie, the loudest lifeguard at the pool?
Larson’s graphic novel captures something true about the transitional time at the end of middle school without turning it into too overt a lesson, and shows that, yeah, boys and girls can absolutely be just friends for the long term.