SHARK SUMMER

This is a quote from a graphic novel, which only goes to show you how awesome Ira Marckus’ SHARK SUMMER is.

Storytime: I grew up thirty minutes from the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard (scene of Shark Week, setting of Jaws, and summer home to a lot of very rich people). It’s such a fun island because it’s the epitome of small New England old money/ Historical Society… where reggae music blasts most of the summer.

So when I had the opportunity to review Ira Marcks’ debut graphic novel SHARK SUMMER, which is set there, for #Book Allies, I jumped on it!

Newish kid in town Gayle started the summer losing the championship softball game for her new team and breaking her arm. The massive ambulance/hospital bills jeopardized Gayle’s mom’s plans to open an ice cream stand.

Fortunately, Gayle teams up with new friends “Ghastly Maddie” and Hollywood kid Elijah to win a youth film contest with a big cash prize. But the strange trio soon stumble onto

Loved

  • Marcks nails, and I mean NAILS, the entire zeitgeist of Southeastern Massachusetts and the islands – from the abundance of creepy legends, to the wealth of small businesses, to the uneasy coexistence of tourists and locals. #homesick
  • Cool facts about sharks, Martha’s Vineyard, and the art of storytelling sneakily woven in.
  • Shout-out for Deaf representation (in the form of Maddie’s too-nerdy-to-not-be-cool dad).
  • Extremely powerful themes of friendship, acceptance, and the stories we tell ourselves and others.

Trigger warning

Mention of a creepy shark cult (not graphic); part of the legend involves a dead criminal being fed to a mythical shark.

Frankly, as an adult reader, I thought this was all really freaking cool.

Verdict

With a major “JAWS x Scooby Doo (with more likable sleuths)” vibe and strong themes of friendship and acceptance, this book can best be described as a literary graphic novel. But kids aren’t going to see all that quality because – graphic novel and SHARKS.

As always, thank you #BookAllies, Little Brown Young Readers, and Ira Marckus for the review copy. All opinions are my own, etc.

SHARK SUMMER is available now.

The Stats

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 25, 2021)
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8 – 12 years
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 3 – 7

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