I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog 18 months ago. It's always been a personal feature, but now I'm going to try turning it into a meme. There are quite a few people who do Manga Mondays. I don't claim by any means that I owned or created the idea of Manga Mondays - it's an obvious choice given the alliteration. I think a meme would be a good way for everyone to publicize their own Manga Mondays and get a little more publicity.
The linky will be below my review.
Kimi ni Todoke vol. 2 by Karuho Shiina
Will the curse of Sadako leave her friendless for life? Sadako's chance to become friends with Yano and Yoshida is about to go down the drain when rumors start flying that Yano's been around the block and Yoshida's a former gang member. And the source of all this tattle? Sadako herself! Will Sadako retreat to her former life as a loner because of a simple misunderstanding?! Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine…for a horror movie. With her jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor, she’s often mistaken for Sadako, the haunting movie character. Unbeknownst to but a few, behind her scary façade is a very misunderstood teenager. Shy and pure of heart, she just wants to make friends. But when Kazehaya, the most popular boy in class, befriends her, she’s sure to make more than just that—she’s about to make some enemies too!(courtesy of Goodreads)
*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.
The main reason I chose to read Kimi ni Todoke was that people said it was a great serious contemporary manga, something I haven't read enough of. My wish definitely came back to bite me. Volume 2 of Kimi ni Todoke was so mentally painful that I almost physically ached upon reading Sawako's anguish. I had to put it down for a few days.
At the end of Volume 1, Sawako finally had two great girlfriends, Yano and Yoshida, and a possible boyfriend, Kazehaya. Life was looking up. Things quickly take a turn for the worse when school starts back up. As it says in the summary, some rumors are spread about Yano and Yoshida and Sawako gets blamed. Add to that some things that Sawako says that are easily taken the wrong way, and her friendship in is turmoil.
What makes this book so hard to read is that Sawako's self-esteem is horribly damaged after years of ostracism. She is so honored that these people are being nice to her. She's not worthy of them. She is terrified that her simple presence will hurt them. So she pulls away. I think any teenager - especially anyone who was an introvert and not in the "popular" group - can relate to Sawako's feelings, even if her reactions are on the extreme side. The "there but for the grace of God go I" sense is strong throughout the book.
The romance is not as strong in this volume as I think it will be in future volumes. Friendship is the main focus, but Kazehaya still plays an important role. I love how he encourages Sawako to think more of herself and to stick up for herself. He inspires her to be someone better.
Things work out of course, and you're left feeling happier, but you know that Sawako has a long ways to go before she is healed from her childhood trauma. Despite the reader's anguish, it is great to read a volume of manga that feels so real.