Boys Over Flowers, vols. 1-2

Tsukushi Makino has arrived at Eitoku Academy, the prestigious hothouse where the flowers of society (the children of the super-rich) are nurtured. Or so her parents believe. Eitoku is more like a jungle where predators rule. The F4, Eitoku’s four most sought-after boys, dominate the school. Any students who cross them get red tags in their lockers, warning them that the F4 have declared war. The “flowery four” (can you imagine a clique of American boys comparing themselves to flowers?) drive their victims out of Eitoku with bullying and humiliation; even the teachers are afraid to challenge the sons of Japan’s billionaires. Tsukushi is about to become the first person ever to stand up to the F4.

Tsukushi is the name for a Japanese weed, and like a weed, Tsukushi Makino is a survivor. While this damsel in distress does get rescued once or twice by the enigmatic Rui (he’s a member of the F4, but is he like the others?), it’s not like she was waiting around. Unlike many shoujo heroines, Tsukushi’s not afraid to challenge the boys physically. Stunned by her resistance, Tsukushi’s classmates start to wake up and defy the F4′s rules. In a plot reminiscent of the 80′s classic Pretty in Pink, Domyoji (the ringleader of the F4) is intrigued and tries to buy Tsukushi’s compliance. Domyoji starts to seem genuinely smitten; could the boy who hired students to rape Tsukushi (they failed) possibly reform? At the same time, Tsukushi is developing a crush on Rui. What’s behind his careless facade? Could he ever have feelings for her? Just like in Pretty in Pink, our heroine has to choose whether to stay in her own social world or enter an unfamiliar realm of wealth and status-seeking. Readers will cheer as Tsukushi uses her strength and her wits to stay ahead of her enemies. I highly recommend Boys Over Flowers for any teen library collection. Three volumes have been released to date, with a fourth coming soon.

Boys Over Flowers
Volume 1
ISBN: 1569319960 (0ut of print)
Volume 2
ISBN: 9781569319970
By Yoko Kamio
Viz 2003

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