May Contain Spoilers
Who knew that throwing a surprise birthday party for Onise would be so complicated? When Nao is rushing meet Taiga, a strange boy sidetracks her. He’s being chased by classmates that want to beat him senseless. When they see Nao with Nishigaki, they think they’re together and start chasing her, too!
Wow, Nao needs to learn to speak up. When she and Nishigaki ran into each other, if she had just said something, ANYTHING, she wouldn’t have gotten dragged along with him into danger. Before she knows it, she’s 2 hours late meeting with Onise, and everyone at the café must be getting antsy waiting for the birthday boy to arrive. But no, Nao gets caught up in Nishigaki’s drama, and she learns that Nishigaki has a deep admiration for Onise. Only Onise doesn’t really remember him from middle school. Whelp!
When the new school year starts, Onise is terribly disappointed that he’s the only one in a different class section. He was looking forward to being in the same section as Nao, Misaki, and Yashiro. Even Futami is in Nao’s class! As he tries to get over that disappointment, that weirdo Nishigaki keeps tracking him down. Nishigaki is a blunt guy. He has stars in his eyes every time he sees Taiga, but he can’t understand by he’s dating a shrimp like Nao. So not only is he a trouble magnet, he’s rude, too!
When Onise learns that Miyabi, Nashigaki’s twin sister, is having a hard time making friends, he’s moved to help her out. Not too long ago, he was one without any friends. We get a flashback to Taiga’s early school days and learn that his sinister looks have all of his classmates misjudging him. When he dyes his hair, he makes matters worse, and he’s a lonely, picked on guy until he learns to open up with Nao’s help. Poor guy. Onise really is a nice, sweet guy, but because he’s big and intimidating, nobody gives him a chance and everyone avoids him.
This volume explored how caring both Nao and Onise can be. They both feel bad that Miyabi is also being misjudged, and that she isn’t making any friends. They both try to help her, though Miyabi doesn’t realize that Nao is responsible for some of Onise’s advice. When Nao feels the sting of jealousy, she wonders if she’s made a mistake, letting Onise and Miyabi get close. Both Nao and Onise have major struggles with self-doubt, and their struggles are believable. Better yet, they are able to reconcile themselves with their feelings, and their relationship comes out stronger for it.
Only two more volumes. I wasn’t sure that the series would continue to hold my attention, but the conflicts are relatable and the outcomes are very touching.
Grade: 4 stars
Review copy borrowed from my local library
About the book:
Although Nao Kogure was once afraid of the delinquent Taiga Onise, she was soon touched by his kind soul. Nao and Taiga’s romance is as strong as ever, and even Misaki and Yashiro are getting along. Nao plans a surprise birthday party for Onise, but on the day of the event she unknowingly gets mixed up with another injured delinquent.