Hey everyone! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop for the lovely graphic novel My Last Summer With Cass by Mark Crilley! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s newest graphic novel.
Title: My Last Summer With Cass by Mark Crilley
Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel
Publishing Date: March 16, 2021
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?
Find out more about My Last Summer With Cass with these links!
Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!
Top 5 Reasons to Read My Last Summer with Cass
1. The Friendship
Anyone who has been through a friendship breakup or has had conflict with their close friends will deeply relate to what Megan and Cass go through. The kind of bond the two share is so incredibly precious yet so hard to come by. The novel displays their relationship in such a heart-wrenching way, and I am totally here for it.
2. The Exploration of Different Art Styles
My Last Summer With Cass features unique characters, with even more unique art styles. One person only uses two different shades of one color! Another creates their art very abstractly. However, my most favorite art pieces are the ones Megan and Cass create together. You can really see their different art styles work together in such an interesting way!
3. The Setting
The story takes place in the bustling city of New York. In my opinion, the city Cass lives in (New York City), really resonates with her personality. It’s busy and creative, just like Cass. I thoguht the setting was depicted in such an intriguing way, and I really do believe that Mark Crilley draws the best atmospheres I’ve ever seen. Crilley creates scenes that draw you in, and only let you go once you’ve finished the book.
4. The Captivity
My Last Summer With Cass is a graphic novel that you won’t want to put down. As mentioned early, the way the art is drawn is so incredibly intriguing. It allows the readers to feel as though they are in the story, and to me, that’s incredibly beautiful.
5. The Colors
The author uses colors that I’ve never seen any artist use consistently throughout graphic novels. I liked how their wasn’t much use of black. It was very refreshing to see. To top it all off, purple and blue are used quite a bit, and are used in such different emotional context as well. The colors were used in a way that portrayed every emotion the characters where experiencing in such unique ways!
Here is my bookstagram post for the tour! Simply press the image to view it on my bookstagram account.
Without further ado, here is the interview!
1. I just want to say thank you so much for being here with us today! Before we begin, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Mark Crilley: I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where I was fascinated with drawing from my very earliest years. I continued honing my skills throughout elementary school and high school, and when I became an art major at Kalamazoo College in 1984, I had the good fortune to study under the great children’s book writer and illustrator David Small. A few years later, while teaching English in Japan, I challenged myself to create a comic book, one page per week. Upon my return to Michigan, that story– Akiko on the Planet Smoo– was eventually published, and it led to a career in comics that has continued to this day.
Saniya: That’s such a fascinating journey, thank you for sharing!
2. My Last Summer with Cass is a beautiful story. Did any real life occurrences or experiences influence the making of the book?
Mark Crilley: Thank you! Actually, this graphic novel is the most directly autobiographical story I’ve ever done, and there are many parallels between Megan’s life and my own. The character of Cass was inspired by a dear friend of mine who I first met in high school: John Walter. John eventually settled in New York City, where he became an award-winning film editor and director. I visited John in the city several times, and saw that he was moving in much more sophisticated circles than I was, and was investigating far more adventurous types of art, music, and literature than I ever had. John and I never came into conflict with each other, happily! But all of these real-life experiences, and the fact that two good friends could have such dramatically different artistic instincts, became the main source of inspiration for My Last Summer with Cass.
Saniya: That’s so cool!
3. What was the illustration process like? Was there a certain mood or feel you wanted to portray in the art style?
Mark Crilley: I wanted the artwork to be reminiscent of artist’s sketches rather than polished, slick illustrations. So I resolved not to have any inked lines in the whole book. While I used Photoshop to push the colors in certain directions, almost everything you see in the book is hand-made art, created with pencil, markers, pastels, and white gouache. This hopefully gives the art a more organic look, with a human touch that accentuates the messy imperfections of the two main characters’ lives.
Saniya: I think it looks amazing, and totally gives off such an organic look!
4. My Last Summer with Cass has an abundance of unique and memorable characters. Which character’s art style resonates the most with your personality?
Mark Crilley: It’s an interesting question, since all of the artist characters in the story are making artwork that was, naturally enough, actually made by me. And while Megan resembles me in terms of her personality, I have presented her as an artist who has not yet discovered her own style. When I was in college, part of me was actually quite attracted to the idea of minimalism. In this sense, the relatively minor character of Taja, who creates all her paintings from just two different shades of the same color, is probably the one whose art would resonate with me most if I saw it in real life.
Saniya: That’s very interesting.
5. What is the main message you would like your readers to take away from this (absolutely stunning) graphic novel?
Mark Crilley: Well, wow, first let me thank you for your kind words! You know, the story builds toward a theme of how good friendships can go bad, and how important it is to not give up on them. So surely that’s the main one. But there’s a lot of other messages woven into the story, I think. The value of getting out of your comfort zone and being exposed to new things. The importance of choosing your own path in life, rather than one dictated to you by your parents. The danger of comparing yourself to others, and allowing that to make you feel insecure about yourself. All of this is in there, but hopefully in a quiet way. Really I just wanted to tell a good story, one in which readers would genuinely care about these characters, and want to see how things would work out for them.
Saniya: That’s so intriguing. I for one felt very attached to the girls’ stories, it was incredibly poignant and beautiful.
About The Author
Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created the Eisner Award–nominated comic Akiko on the Planet Smoo, which spawned a series of graphic novels and prose novel adaptations. In 1998, Mark Crilley was named to Entertainment Weekly’s It List of the 100 most creative people in entertainment.
Thank you so much for reading this tour stop post, I hope you enjoyed! I hope you decide to check out My Last Summer With Cass. Have a fabulous day!