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A Silent Voice vols. 1-3 by Yoshitoki Ooima

First of all, I want to thank YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection Committee for selecting Yoshitoki Ooima’s A Silent Voice as one of the Top 10 Great Graphic Novels of their 2016 list. (The whole series counts as one entry, in case you questioning my math.) There’s a good chance that I would have read this series eventually because one of my anime club officers suggested it, but it moved to the top of my reading list as part of the Hub Reading Challenge and boy am I glad.

A Silent Voice is a moving story about bullying, forgiveness, and redemption. When hearing impaired Shoko enters ruffian Shoya’s elementary school class, the students must deal with some changes to their everyday routine. Shoya, in particular, does not handle the disruption very well.

A daredevil who gets his kicks by jumping off bridges, Shoya is a physical, live life out loud kind of a guy. Since Shoko can’t speak, he can’t figure it out and that pisses him off. For Shoya, this means acting out physically with Shoko as his target. And so the bullying begins.

Ooima’s depiction of Shoko’s treatment is humbling. Shoya is so mean to Shoko, the whole class is. It’s the kind of mean that breaks your hearts and makes you sob and sob and sob for all the bullied people everywhere. It’s enough to make you want to quit the book, if anything because Shoko is so unwavering, so persistent in her kindness despite all the unkindness. But you can’t quit the book because you really want to see how it pans out. And so you do. NOTE: Slight spoilers follow…do not move on if you care about being spoiled.

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Strobe Edge vols. 1-5 by Io Sakisaka

So at first I thought I’d do individual reviews on each volume of Strobe Edge but I read them so quickly I forgot what happened in which volume so…yeah, I’m going to lump several together in one review.

So the series has really grown on me! The characters are now developing and things started getting interesting for me, probably at around volume 3. Rather than spoil certain plot points for others, I’m going to warn you that, if you don’t want to know what happens next, you probably shouldn’t read on. I’m trying not to reveal anything huge and, let’s face it, if you’ve read any shoujo manga in your lifetime you probably know what’s coming up, but better safe than sorry. 🙂

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Strobe Edge volume 1 by Io Sakisaka

Strobe Edge, Vol. 1 (Strobe Edge, #1)Strobe Edge, Vol. 1 by Io Sakisaka

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

As far as Ninako is concerned, Ren’s super cool handsomeness places him on a different level–he’s an unapproachable celebrity, someone to admire from afar. It’s not until a misstep on a train that Ninako begins to see through Ren’s “pop star” status. The more glimpses she catches of the real Ren the more Ninako’s feelings begin to evolve from gushy schoolgirl crush to the purity of first love.

I have to admit, at the start I thought Ninako was kind of wishy washy, that she was too willing to let her friends dictate her feelings; but she grew on me. You have to admire a girl who has the courage to be honest even when she knows someone is going to be hurt.

This is the first volume of the book. I thought it was just okay. There wasn’t enough comedy to have me laughing out loud, the supporting cast was less than memorable, and there just wasn’t much chemistry between Ninako and Ren. But that could all change as the series progresses. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

On a side note, I thought the author’s comments on her pets were very entertaining. She has three chinchillas (two boys and a girl), none of which like to be picked up. She also relates how she has been trying to catch the female chinchilla while she’s giving birth to determine just when she does it. Frankly, I’m wondering what she does with all the babies.

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