Note to self (3/10/2008)

March 10, 2008

This is as much for my own use as anything else, but I’ve decided to make a note here every time I nominate something for the Young Adult Library Association’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list (which you can do here).

High School Debut volume 2, by Kazune Kawahara (Viz): The first volume was intriguing, and the second is terrific. Upon entering high school, Haruna switched her extracurricular focus from softball to finding a boyfriend. She convinces a handsome fellow student, Yoh, to coach her through the process, as she’s pretty hopeless. It could have been perfectly dreadful, and some elements of the first volume were a little worrying, but Kawahara settles into a really lovely groove this time around. Yoh’s advice is actually pretty good, and Haruna demonstrates an admirable learning curve. That doesn’t mean everything turns out well, but Haruna’s confidence is growing in a really entertaining way. The tone has settled down a bit, and I love the blend of comedy and heartbreak, along with the smart, sweet observations Kawahara sprinkles throughout.

Mushishi volume 3, by Yuki Urushibara (Del Rey): This book has been spectacular from the beginning. Ginko wanders the countryside helping people cope with the effects of mushi, mysterious, primordial bugs. The episodes are almost all perfectly shaped little morality tales, and they’re beautifully drawn. Del Rey rates the book for ages 16 and up, but there’s nothing here that wouldn’t suit a younger reader. (Okay, Ginko smokes, so that might trip some content alarm.)