May 19th, 2014
Another by Yukito Ayatsuji; art by Hiro Kiyohara
Koichi Sakakibara has moved in with his grandparents while he recuperates from a chronic lung problem. this means he has left the big city to settle in the countryside hometown of his mother, who died while he was young. He is placed in the third year class 3 at the local middle school. immediately he is struck about how odd the other students behave. Everyone seems to go out of their way to ignore one particular girl, Mei Misaki.
What Koichi doesn’t know is that class 3-3 is cursed. Each year there is one person in class who is actually a ghost. The curse twists people’s memories around so no one knows who is really alive and who might be dead. Not even the ghost knows. So a ritual has been created and passed down from class to class. In order not to bring down the curse’s wrath one of the students must be ignored, so each student must pretend the chosen student doesn’t exist. In this way the class balances out the addition of the ghost by ignoring one of its own. But if this ritual is not respected then class members, or their immediate family members, begin dying in horrible and strange ways.
So Koichi sees a troubled girl and begins talking with her. The other classmates know the ritual hs been broken so they start to ignore Koichi as well. But It is too late. People have begun to die. Now Koichi, Mei, and the rest of their class have to figure out how to stop the curse before another student dies.
Another is a great horror manga. It is spooky and has just enough grisly death scenes to keep you unnerved. If you want something fun and fast paced to read definitely give Another a shot. It is appropriate for ages 14 and up.
March 29th, 2014
No Matter How I look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular! by Nico Tanigawa
Tomoko Kuroki has finally made it to high school. She isn’t a girl anymore, but a young woman and it is her time to shine. The boys will like her, the girls will envy her. In short she will be popular.
Unfortunately her soul crushing social anxiety has different plans. She can barely speak up in class and she can’t seem to get the latest fashion trends to be as “cute” as the other girls.
So she begins a quest to figure out what it takes to become “popular.” Each chapter Tomoko explores a different possibility. Will she be popular if she dresses more provocatively? Perhaps pretending to have a boyfriend would help. What if she plays to her strengths and is the silent snobby type? Tomoko tries and tries again and her failures are incredibly funny as well as insightful as a young girl tries to fit what society thinks she should be. But will Tomoko ever gain the confidence to just be herself?
No Matter How I look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular is an incredibly funny manga series about high school and fitting in. It is intended for an older teen audience, 16 and up, because of some mature subject matter. But if you need a laugh you cannot go wrong here.
March 3rd, 2014
Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
Win is a young man who believes with all his heart that one full moon he will turn into a wolf. He yearns for this transformation and comes up with elaborate scientific excuses every month when he doesn’t change. But he believes this next full moon will be different. Someone died in the woods near his prep school last month. Win wonders if he did turn and killed the man and then forgot. And if that is true maybe he will remember the change this upcoming full moon.
But there is a hitch. there is a new girl at school, a transfer student. She doesn’t fit in with the rich prep students. And her and Win keep crossing paths which leads to a wary but mutual friendship. So when the next big party comes up he feels the need to look after her. The party just happens to be on the full moon and in the woods where the man died. Throughout the evening events occur that make Win remember the past. when he went by is first name, Drew, and he was just nine years old.
What has to happen to a young boy to make him believe he is werewolf? And what happens to a young man who remembers those answers? Charm & Strange is the story of a young man torn in two. And tonight under the full moon he will need to piece himself back together if he can.
Charm & Strange is a wonderful novel that keeps the reader guessing at horrible secrets that make up Win’s childhood, while also hoping for the violent and idiosyncratic young man’s search for liberation and recovery from his past isn’t in vain. This book is recommended for ages 16 and up.