Manga Review: A Bride’s Story V 2 by Kaoru Mori @yenpress


May Contain Spoilers

Wow. This series is stunning so far. The hardcover presentation is top-notch, and the art is gorgeous. The age difference between Karluk and Amir didn’t even bother me as much this time around. The entire volume was engaging, and I couldn’t put it down.

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Manga Review: Silver Spoon V 2 by Hiromu Arakawa @yenpress


May Contain Spoilers

This is a really fun series. Who would have thought that life at an agricultural high school could be so exciting? Certainly not Hachiken, who is only attending Ezo Ag to get as far away from his parents as possible. The series follows his daily activities, which by all accounts should be pretty darn boring, because scooping manure from horse stalls and fattening up piglets really isn’t all that exciting. But somehow Hiromu Arakawa makes these farming chores page-turners.

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Manga Review: Silver Spoon V 1 by Hiromu Arakawa


May Contain Spoilers

This is a humorous slice of life manga about a guy obsessed with being Number 1 in everything, and his new life at an agricultural high school. Hachiken, a city boy, applied to Ezo Ag because it was far from his home, and there are dormitories. Now that he’s in rural hell, and he knows nothing about farming or animal husbandry, he’s beginning to rethink the wisdom of this particular life choice.

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Manga Review: Honey So Sweet V 4 by Amu Meguro @shojobeat


May Contain Spoilers

This series is really cute, and as a bonus, it’s only eight volumes long. Since some of the Shonen Jump series I’m following are over 20 volumes and counting, a short, compact story is appreciated. This is a slice of life romance about a group of high school friends, and how their friendships change and enhance each other. It’s funny and angsty and sweet.

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Manga Review: Bakuman V 3 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata @shonenjump


May Contain Spoilers

I am finally gaining some traction with Bakuman. Volume 3 was the best so far, mainly because of Eiji. The genius manga creator is shockingly unique, and I really enjoy his personality. He is so lost in his stories that he doesn’t even notice the real world, taking extended visits into his vivid imagination. While I thought he was going to be conceited jerk, he was far from it in this volume. He’s just a comic geek, magnified by 100, and he doesn’t have the best social graces. Then again, neither do Moritaka and Akito.

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Manga Review: The Royal Tutor V 1 & 2 by Higasa Akai @yenpress


May Contain Spoilers

I picked up this series because the first volume was three bucks on Amazon, and the cover is cute. I had no idea what The Royal Tutor was about, but after just a few pages of V1, I was charmed. This is an engaging slice of life manga about a passel of spoiled princes and their unlikely tutor.

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Manga Review: Flying Witch 1 by Chihiro Ishizuka

May Contain Spoilers

Since Poppy had her ligament surgery, I have been having a very hard time concentrating on anything.  I have spent hours playing Mystery Match and Crafty Candy because they require little thought.  Just match the blocks and you’re good to go.  When that got boring, I turned to my mountain of neglected manga and pulled out a few random volumes to read while waiting for her stitches and her bones to heal.

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Review: Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

 

 

   Title: Inside Out & Back Again

   Author: Thanhha Lai

   Publisher: Harper Collins

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.

For all the ten years of her life, HÀ has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by . . . and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.

But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. HÀ and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, HÀ discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family.

This is the moving story of one girl’s year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next. 

Review:

I love books about different cultures or ways of life, and Inside Out & Back Again delivers up an emotionally enthralling account of a young Vietnamese girl’s flight from her home country to the US.  As I read Ha’s adventures, recounted in simple yet moving free verse, I wondered what it would be like to have everything familiar ripped away.  Before the fall of Saigon, life for Ha was happy and content, despite the growing hardships caused by the war.  Her father has been missing in action since she was an infant, but her family still holds out hope that he will return home one day.  She loves her family, she is doing well in school, and she is eager for her papaya tree to finally yield fruit.  Her three brothers are happy, as well, and they are excellent students with bright futures ahead of them.  Everything changes with the fall of Saigon.

Ha’s mother is trying valiantly to raise four children by herself, but life has gotten more difficult.  It’s harder to make ends meet, and the price of everything keeps climbing.  As the communists threaten Saigon, she has a family meeting and asks everyone what they should do.  Should they flee, and try to built a new life in a country without Ho Chi Min and the war?  Ha and her brother Thoi don’t want to go.  How can they leave Ha’s papaya tree and Thoi’s chicken?  The pain of leaving their most prized possessions was a bitter pill to swallow for a new life with no guarantees.  I don’t think I could have done it.  Photographs, clothing, memories; all were left behind in Vietnam.

I loved Ha and found her easy to relate to.  She has been thrust into a new life that she doesn’t want, and one that doesn’t seem to want her.  Her new neighbors in Alabama aren’t very neighborly, she can’t understand the confusing language she is immersed in, and her classmates mock and bully her.  Her teacher doesn’t understand her and doesn’t try to make her feel welcome.  Instead, Ha, a bright, curious girl, is left feeling stupid and ignorant.  As she begins to pick up the language, she wishes she did not understand the names she is called or the jokes that her peers make about her.  She is angry, justifiably, but there is no outlet for her rage.  Ha is the one who must make concessions to fit in with a group of kids who can only see how she is different from them. 

This is a quick read that follows one year in Ha’s life.  Starting in Vietnam on New Year’s, Inside Out & Back Again chronicles her flight from Saigon, life in a refuge camp, and her eventual home in Alabama.  I could not put the book down and I read it in one sitting.  Highly recommended.

Grade:  A

Available in Print and Digital

Review copy provided by library

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