My Last Summer with Cass
by Mark Crilley
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released on March 16th, 2021
YOUNG ADULT FICTION—Graphic Novel, Contemporary
This One Summer meets The Edge of Seventeen in this poignant coming-of-age YA graphic novel about two childhood friends at a crossroads in their lives and art from the author of Mastering Manga.
Megan and Cass have been joined at the brush for as long as they can remember. For years, while spending summers together at a lakeside cabin, they created art together, from sand to scribbles . . . to anything available. Then Cass moved away to New York.
When Megan finally convinces her parents to let her spend a week in the city, too, it seems like Cass has completely changed. She has tattoos, every artist in the city knows her. She even eats chicken feet now! At least one thing has stayed the same: They still make their best art together.
But when one girl betrays the other’s trust on the eve of what is supposed to be their greatest artistic feat yet, can their friendship survive? Can their art?
*I WAS PROVIDED A PHYSICAL GALLEY BY THE PUBLISHER IN RETURN FOR MY HONEST REVIEW. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION*
I held off on reading this book for so long, and I kind of regret it! I was not expecting what I got out of it, and it definitely left me with some impressions.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the art style. It’s not that it wasn’t good, because it definitely was, but I don’t think it was something that meshed well with me. Especially as someone who isn’t all in-the-know on art or styling, I have a tendency to gravitate toward certain, specific styles, and this one was just outside that unfortunately.
To be quite frank, you could easily tell this was a coming-of-age story. It was practically broadcast through the dialogue. One thing I like about coming-of-age stories is when the lesson is ultimately less in your face and more so a learnable feature throughout the story. This one was not that, but I won’t knock it out of the base because it was still a good story. It was simple, but it also had a bit of a pull and tug on it toward the end.
I was not that big of a fan of Cass’s character. Sure, she did admit that she had done something wrong, but I felt like it was extremely brushed aside in favor of the one big thing that Megan had done in retaliation. I feel like these characters were not given a lot of development, and they kind of suffered, in my eyes, because of that. And not to be super nit-picky, but it was pretty obvious that these two girl characters were written by a guy.
I’ll be short with this: this story wasn’t a favorite, but it was still okay and somewhat enjoyable to me. For that, I rate this book 3 stars. I don’t plan on reading anything more from Mark Crilley any time soon, but maybe if he comes out with something new in the future, I wouldn’t be opposed to it.
Mark Crilley is an American comic book creator and children’s book author/illustrator. He is the creator of Miki Falls, Akiko, and Brody’s Ghost. He is also noted for his instructional videos for drawing in the manga-style. Crilley distributes drawing advice to artists via YouTube videos and his DeviantArt account. In August 2010, he starred in some how to draw videos for Funimation on demand. Mark Crilley’s wife is Miki Crilley who he named Miki Falls after. The two have a daughter, Mio, and a son, Matthew.