This series has many of the same elements as Yoshinaga’s other works–quirky plot twists, deep emotion, offbeat humor, and beautiful artwork. But this series is not one of her boy’s love titles, so don’t expect romance from the relationship between Haru and his new pal Shota. Haru has had to enroll in school a month late because he was getting a bone transplant for his leukemia. He’s fine now and enjoying making new friends, especially Shota, a sweet, but very chubby, boy. It’s refreshing to see characters with varying body types in this manga and makes the school setting more realistic. Haru is a bit of an airhead, but he is endearing and the friendship between him and Shota is believable and warm. There are plenty of humorous side characters, including Kai, a grumpy otaku who is friends with Shota, two teachers involving in an extramarital affair, and Haru’s loving, but odd family. While the plot seems like it jumps around a good deal, readers of Yoshinaga’s former works, especially Antique Bakery, will know to hang on through the next two volumes while she weaves the many plot threads together.

Flower of Life, vol. 1
By Fumi Yoshinaga
ISBN: 9781569708743
Digital Manga, 2007

  • 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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