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! 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?
My Last Summer with CassFeatured
Megan and Cass have been friends forever. Their families vacationed together since they were young, and the two girls could count on seeing each other every summer at the lakeside cabin their parents rented. It was during their time there that Megan and Cass discovered their shared love of art, and it’s where they had their first collaboration and were discovered and encouraged by a woman with an eye for talent.
As the girls get older, their lives change dramatically, and their summers by the lake are just memories. With college choices on the horizon, Megan manages to convince her parents to let her visit Cass in New York City for a couple of weeks, and that time changes how both young women think about themselves, their friendship, and their art.
MY LAST SUMMER WITH CASS by Mark Crilley is gorgeous. The characters have depth and beauty, the art is fantastic, and the story is one that will resonate with both teens and adults. I love Crilley’s illustrations because he manages to tell so much about a character in subtle ways, and this book shows that he’s equally adept with words.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about the plot, but I encourage you to pick up this book. You can read it in one sitting, and then start it all over again to it to immerse yourself in the illustrations to fully appreciate the beauty of that part of the work. That’s certainly what I did.
I’ll be buying MY LAST SUMMER WITH CASS for the art-loving teens in my world–in part because I don’t want to part with my own copy–and I hope that this departure from his normal style isn’t Crilley’s last.
A good overall story
As the years go by, things begin to change. The biggest change is when Cass's parents get divorced and they stop coming to the family vacations. Cass moves with her mother to NYC, and Megan convinces her parents to let her stay with Cass while they vacation on the east coast. Megan is introduced to Cass's magical world with artists and city life. They begin to work on an art project together that is planned to be in a show. However, when push comes to shove, Megan is not ready to defend herself and her art, steering their friendship astray.
What I loved: The art here is great, and the characters really come to life through the book. I appreciated that the images do most of the storytelling and this suits with the theme of the power of art perfectly. Teenagers will find that the themes of independence vs. social pressures really resonating. Megan is dealing with what her parents and others around her expect against what she feels and wants. Her character shows a lot of growth in the book, and I appreciated the ending resolution.
What left me wanting more: The story is really quite simple, and I would have liked to see more of the turmoil and challenges that led to the main conflict - as well as what happened afterwards. We skip some of the fall-out as we go to the third part which is years in the future, but I feel like more of this would have been important to get a deeper dive on how this critical moment has shaped her future and changed her.
Final verdict: Overall, MY LAST SUMMER WITH CASS was an intriguing graphic novel about art and friendship that will resonate with young readers.