Looking for a summery graphic novel? Look no further!
Title: Shark Summer
Author: Ira Marcks
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Genres: MG Graphic Novel
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
When a Hollywood film crew arrives on Martha’s Vineyard with a mechanical shark and a youth film contest boasting a huge cash prize, disgraced pitcher Gayle “Blue Streak” Briar sees a chance to turn a bad season into the best summer ever.
After recruiting aspiring cinematographer Elijah Jones and moody director Maddie Grey, Gayle and her crew set out to uncover the truth of the island’s own phantom shark and win the prize money. But these unlikely friends are about to discover what happens when you turn your camera toward the bad things lurking below the surface.
Shark Summer is a fun graphic novel featuring three young teenagers intent on winning a film festival contest as they explore Martha’s Vineyard and its many secrets.
Gayle, Elijah, and Maddie are an eclectic group–Gayle is a softball player with a broken wrist and nothing to do, Elijah is an aspiring cinematographer, and Maddie is an outcast with a story she wants everyone to know. I liked seeing the different sides of each character, told through the emotive style of the art. Though we see everything through Gayle’s perspective, we get each character’s story. I loved following them on their adventures around the island, as they come up with ideas, and even as they come in conflict with each other. Elijah was definitely my favorite character–he was so funny and sweet.
This fast moving story is well plotted, barely slowing down at all, but there are a few quieter, introspective moments that I really liked. The art is bright and fun, and there are some gorgeous landscapes in the background of several panels. I loved looking at all the art.
The only thing I would have liked to see more of was a resolution or an apology from one character who bullied another. Because there wasn’t anything like that, I felt the character got away with something that they shouldn’t have.
I really liked the friendships and the overall story of Shark Summer. I’m sure a lot of kids will relate to the characters and will be intrigued by the mystery and creepiness of some of the story. It was a lot of fun, and I’d be interested in reading more by the author.