It’s tough living in the shadow of a perfect older sister. As any younger sibling can tell you, it’s not so much that one is better than the other, but that an older sister or brother simply got there first. Everything you do after is in comparison, which can be both a blessing and a curse depending on which way parental approval is leaning. Leah has always suffered in comparison to her older sister Sarai. Sarai is the golden girl – pretty, athletic, independent, smart, popular, and her mother’s favorite. Leah feels like she can never catch up. Then she intercepts a love letter intended for her sister. At first this is no big shock, until she realizes that the note is from another girl. With a mother who’s a conservative Republican Senator and expectations for a perfect life mounting, it’s no surprise that Sarai’s kept this a secret. At first Leah is simply shocked, but then she wonders – what must her sister be feeling? All flustered because of this new discovery, Leah’s not ready for events to get even more complicated when a stranger threatens that they saw the letter and wants to meet her to discuss it. Fearing all kinds of problems, from unruly gossip to outright blackmail, Leah sets out to protect her sister. Along the way she will miss meeting her blackmailer, fall into the care of a handsome stranger, and wrestle with her momentary, admittedly cruel desire to expose her sister so that everyone would see she’s not so perfect after all. In another new title from Tokyopop’s original manga department, the conventions of manga are well used to tell an American story. While the style keeps many of the visual conventions, the story could only happen here and the characters are definitely products of our social and political culture.

Steady Beat, vol. 1
By Rivkah
ISBN: 9781598161359
Tokyopop, 2005

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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