Lenni Reviews: “Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love” Vol. 2, by Ayuko Hatta

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

Satomi and Yagyu are dating after Satomi had the courage to make good on the promise to herself to be honest and confess to the source of her crush right away. Things seem to be going well until Yagyu’s little sister, Juri, insists on tagging along with them and wants her brother all to herself.

Even with Juri bringing in some conflict, Satomi and Yagyu are too perfect. Not that I need high angst in my romances but this doesn’t feel like low angst, it’s no angst. Juri isn’t the type of character you love to hate, she’s just annoying and unpleasant to deal with. In general, I didn’t feel there was enough going on to enjoy this volume, even as a slice of life manga. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Chef’s Kiss” by Jarrett Melendez, Danica Brine, Hank Jones & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

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Ben cook is on the hunt for a job to put his English degree and love of writing to good use. Facing multiple rejections, he applies for a job at a restaurant to make money while he’s still writing. However, he not only has a talent for cooking and enjoys it, he develops a crush on Liam, chef at his new job. Now, he starts to question what he wants for his future.

This is a classic story of a young adult finding their way but told with some wacky characters and beautiful, vibrant colors. All the personalities here are so unique without coming off as having one quirk and no substance. This had the right mix of fun and drama but I would have liked some closure concerning Ben’s parents. But Watson is a fun twist here. You’ll see when you read it. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Needle and Thread” by David Pinckney & Ennun Ana Iurov 

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

Noah has a passion and talent for costume design and wants to make it a career, applying for fashion school against his parent’s wishes. Model student Azarie secretly loves cosplay but has to hide it from her parents since her father is up for mayoral reelection. They meet in secret to make cosplay and plan to enter a contest but if either of their families find out, their plans will fall through, along with their friendship.

This is a simple, light story about a couple of friends trying to be who they are. I thought it was really cool and realistic portrayal of teenagers without a lot of forced drama or romance. I can see real kids acting this way. The art is perfect for this type of story and I think kids will like this. 4 out of 5.

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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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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: “Blue Flag” Vol. 1 KAITO

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

In this manga we have a love quadrangle between outsider Taichi Ichinose, clumsy and shy girl Futaba Kuze, popular jock Toma Mita, and Kiza’s friend Masumi.

It’s interesting so far and I really enjoy how Ichinose and Kuza interact. You can see how feelings formed there on either side. If they end up together, it would be adorable but I have a feeling that things are going to get super complicated and messy. But I’m here for it; I want to know what happens next. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare” Vol. 2 by Yuhki Kamatani

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

Tasuku meets Shuji, a younger boy who wears girl’s clothing and is unsure of his gender identity. Tasuku tries to make him feel comfortable with himself and attempts to befriend Shuji.

The tail end of his volume is a sour note indeed. Without spoiling too much, I feel Shuji was an absolute jerk. Just WAY over the line. I’m going to have a lot of trouble tolerating him later on.

Other than that, I love how the message in this book is simply to treat LGBTQ people as PEOPLE; not a display, sideshow, or a pity party. A crazy idea I know (so much sarcasm here) but it’s something people unknowingly do when faced with someone different from them. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “That Blue Sky Feeling” Vol. 3 by Okura & Coma Hashii

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

Noshiro, Ayumi, and Sanada are all coming to terms with their feelings in this final volume of the series. Noshiro attempts dating while Sanada finally comes out to his friend.

I like that this didn’t turn into a huge romantic story. Noshiro remains his lovable accepting self and wants to be with Sanada whether it be romantic or friendship. It’s left up in the air as to which it will be and I think that’s the best ending if we’re stopping the series at three volumes – despite it being a little frustrating because obviously the reader would love to know what will happen. Overall, this series was adorable. 4.5 out of 5.

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