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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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Will and Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge

Will & WhitWill & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Okay, first of all, the cover of this book totally tricked me. Not in a bad way, probably in a good way. If you are looking for a book about two people named Will and Whit who fall in love and sit on a log and cuddle, do not read this book. You will be sorely disappointed.

Will and Whit is about a girl named Will and her life before and after a storm named Whit strikes. (Yup, that’s not them on the cover.) One thing you need to know about Will is that she is afraid of the dark. Rather, she’s afraid of the shadows that appear in low light. Because of the blackout that comes as a result of the storm Will has to face her fears and turn them into something pleasant so that she can move on.

For me, the book was just okay. There were just too many why’s for me and I think that the story would have been a lot stronger if those why’s were answered. The biggest why was why was Will so afraid of the dark? From some of the hints dropped in the story I’m guessing it has something to do with what happened to her parents, but I don’t know for sure. Because of this, the shadows just didn’t seem creepy to me. I think I would have felt a greater sense of triumph for Will at the end if I knew what caused her fear in the first place.

It’s not a bad book but it felt more like it was more about Will’s friends than it was about Will and, if that’s the case then the cover should have had them instead. 🙂

BTW, I think I know why the cover is what the cover is and it is really very bittersweet and possibly what saved the book for me so…there you go.

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