The old adage, no good deed goes unpunished, holds true for Jaehee when he rescues a girl from being attacked by the Furies, a brutal street gang. Gang leader, Dai, takes an interest in Jaehee and, as their lives continue to intersect, Jaehee is pulled into a world of darkness and betrayal as the two boys draw closer to each other.  Dai’s world is violent, at school, at home, and on the street. His mother is self-centered, his father is abusive, and his siblings are emotionally distant. Dai has learned from them well, resulting in a lack of empathy so extreme that he can allow Jaehee’s girlfriend to be sexually assaulted in front of him without batting an eye. After declaring that Jaehee belongs to him, Dai has no patience for any of Jaehee’s other friends or commitments. He reacts viciously any time he does not get his way, beating Jaehee, cutting himself, or otherwise making it impossible for Jaehee to keep promises made to others.

Despite everything, Jaehee continues to be fascinated by Dai, becoming physically ill when he thinks of never seeing him again. Having always been a good student, son, and friend, Dai’s challenge to act on his whims, rather than doing what is expected, becomes irresistible. Jaehee begins rebelling against the rules he has always followed, skipping school and staying out late. And he falls in love with Dai, who loves him back.

Let Dai is tough. The story is twisted, dark, and believable. It forces you to think about people s actions, their causes and their motives. In the beginning it is difficult to comprehend Jaehee’s attraction to Dai, the way it is hard to understand a battered wife staying with her husband. But, as the boys begin to change and grow, their relationship changes as well, focusing on trust, honesty, and an equilibrium that neither good boy nor bad seed has experienced before. The artwork is beautiful, making the violence seem more extreme. Delicate facial expressions help to show the intense emotions expressed throughout the story. There is violence and strong language used throughout the series and, although the first volume is rated 13+, the rest of the series is rated 16+ and is best reserved for older teens.

Volume 1
Jaehee rescues Yooneun from an alley where she is being assaulted by the Furies, a gang of high school boys. Although the two get away safely, Jaehee is targeted by Dai, the leader of the gang. When Yooneun is used as bait to lure Jaehee back to the gang, he fights them in what turns out to be an initiation ritual. Yooneun begs Jaehee to leave with her, but he decides to stay and explore his attraction for Dai. When Jaehee tries to end a date early, Dai explodes with anger, lashing out at Jaehee and allowing his gang to rape Eunhyung, Jaehee s girlfriend. Jaehee swears never to forgive Dai, while Dai claims that he is the one who was betrayed.

Volume 2
Eunhyung has shut herself away after her assault and refuses to forgive Yooneun and Jaehee for their part in the incident. She now distrusts all men and can t stand to be touched by anyone. Jaehee has transferred to a new high school, where the leader of the local gang uses him as bait to draw out Dai, who has disbanded the Furies. Dai arrives, but refuses to fight, saying he s only come to watch Jaehee get beaten.

Volume 3
Eunhyung continues to transform herself, dressing in boys clothes and hanging out with tough girls. Dai s father, a well-known politician, confronts Dai about his lack of attendance at school. Dai agrees to go to school regularly if he can transfer to Jaehee s school.

Volume 4
Dai is not happy to discover that Jaehee has a best friend at his new school and reacts violently when Naru is brave enough to stand up to him. Jaehee tells Dai to learn to control himself and Dai leaves in a huff. When the two meet up again, Dai confesses his love for Jaehee.

Let Dai, vol. 1-4
Volume 1 ISBN: 9781600090059
Volume 2 ISBN: 9781600090066
Volume 3 ISBN: 9781600090073
Volume 4 ISBN: 9781600090080
Sooyeon Won
Netcomics, 2006

  • Eva

    | She/her Supervising Children’s Librarian, Alameda Free Library

    Editor and Review Coordinator

    Eva Volin is Supervising Children’s Librarian for the Alameda (CA) Free Library. She cowrote “Good Comics for Kids: Collecting Graphic Novels for Young Readers” for Children & Libraries and is a contributor to the forthcoming ALSC Popular Picks for Young Readers. She has served as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics. She has also served on several YALSA committees, including Great Graphic Novels for Teens and the Michael L. Printz Award. Eva is a regular contributor to School Library Journal’s Good Comics for Kids blog and is an occasional reviewer for Booklist.

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