Lenni Reviews: “My Love Mix-Up!” Vol. 1, by Wataru Hinekure & Aruko

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Aki has a crush on his classmate, Hashimoto but when he borrows an eraser from her, he sees she has Ida’s name written on it; he promises to keep it a secret for her. But when Ida sees the eraser, he thinks it belongs to Aki and that he as a crush on him.

First things first, I gotta talk about the art. While the regular scenes are lovely; soft and expressive like most in this genre, there are scenes of super-deformed faces that are unintentionally TERRIFYING. Not all of them but there were a few that had me cringe rather than laugh.

Aside for that, this is a hilarious mix up. It doesn’t take itself too seriously at all and is a light-hearted teenage drama (at least light-hearted for now, you never know). It is looking like we won’t get so much as a love triangle but a love dodecahedron.

Yes, I’m a geek. I love that world…

4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Girl from the Sea” by Molly Ostertag

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Like most teenagers, Morgan dreams of leaving her small seaside town so she can be herself. After her parents divorce, her and her little brother are having trouble dealing with all the emotions, leading Morgan to take a walk near a cliff; only to be saved by an old and exceptional friend.

This was a sweet book with some great representation and a nice simple story. It’s perfect for it’s age group and had beautiful art. I would have liked to see more of it but the ending is satisfactory as it is and makes this all a light hearted read with great characters. 4.5 out of 5.

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They finally got it: Parents in cartoons.

I’ve had issues with how parental figures have been portrayed in young adult fiction and cartoons in the past. Being a parent can warp how you see media; and I won’t be elitist in saying parenthood is the only trigger. There are plenty of people in my age group who have had their perspective shifted when it comes to the media they consumed in the past versus what we consume now. Where once we identified with the impetuous kid, we now can relate to the worrisome adult. The best part is that we can recognize that and become better people as a result. I can’t tell you how often I was able to empathize with my own offspring, allow them their freedom while still imposing reasonable restrictions (that they still get all puberty about but at least there is more talking than screaming).

And that brings me to Camila Noceda:

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In the season finale before the hiatus, I can say without spoilers, Camila is brave, understanding, smart, and heartbreaking. Yes, I may be an adult who still watches cartoons and you can judge me all you want for that but seeing an adult handle their special magical child in such an earnest and realistic way will hopefully pave the way for better depictions of parents in young adult media. Not all parents will be understanding but maybe there’s a weird kid out there who won’t believe all adults will be overly critical and closed-minded. Some of us can be worried about you without being lame, judgmental, or overprotective. We can be worried, we won’t be happy if you lie to us, and fighting demons may not be the profession we’d like you to have, but it comes from a place of love and some of us will understand.

More adults like Camila, please! Young people and adults deserve it.

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Lenni Reviews: “A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow” Vol. 1, by Makoto Hagino

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Konatsu Amano has just relocated from Tokyo to a small town with her aunt because her father’s job has taken him overseas. Concerned about making friends in high school, Amano meets a girl named Koyuki, the sole member of the Aquarium Club. Koyuki is excited to have another member and they become friends as they work in the aquarium connected to the school.

This manga is really sweet. I like that Konatsu slowly becomes more confident and has an adorable relationship with Koyuki. If you want some light and fluffy reading, this will fit the bill. It is, however, very ‘slice of life’ so if that bores you, there are parts you will want to bail in this volume. But I liked it. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Koimonogatari: Love Stories” Vol. 2 by Tohru Tagura

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

As Yoshinaga and Hasegawa become better friends, we get some more insight into what other LGBT kids go through in Japan when we meet Sakura, who got outed by his cousin; who continues to bully him and in this humble reviewer’s opinion, needs his throat punched for what he puts Sakura through.

This volume is an emotional rollercoaster. We have fake boyfriends, fake girlfriends, bullies, love confessions, and my main takeaway from it is that high school sucks ass and I don’t miss it one bit. I got called a dyke then being bi (and still now by guys who are salty I won’t mess with them) and it sucks to deal with when you barely know who you are and don’t have many friends.

It also sucks that Yoshinaga has to lie to protect himself but I give this book props for giving him a bunch of people who love and support him. That’s a relief. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Songbird Thief” by Skye Allen

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

Lee is half fae with a magical voice. When she sings, she can control people; a talent she has only used so far to steal little things here and there. After escaping her abusive step-father, Lee is torn between wanting to know more about who she is and heeding the warnings of her late mother’s friend, Sonja; who knows the fae were responsible for Lee’s mother’s death. But the fae are very interested in Lee’s magical voice and their promise of answers may be more than Lee can resist.

This book is classified as a Young Adult LGBTQ fantasy but it didn’t feel like a YA novel; if that makes any sense. There’s this maturity to it. I had to keep reminding myself that Lee is 15 not 25. She describes things in beautiful detail, she’s put into some really tough situations, and despite having zero clue what to do half the time, she makes some mature decisions.

The fairy world is described well and the technique and word choices expect effort from the reader. It’s not dumbed down and doesn’t pander. Lee is a nice kid and a real character just trying to do the right thing in a world full of bad choices; all culminating to a bittersweet ending. Despite being the second in a series, this book stands firmly on it’s own and is a welcome diversion from most YA I’ve read. I give this a 4 out of 5.

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