Ayaka Shiramine was number one in her class throughout middle school. Beautiful, poised, helpful to her underclassmen and therefore admired, Shiramine skillfully hid the effort she had put into everything that defined her. Seiran Academy, the exclusive all-girls school in which she is enrolled follows its students from middle school to university. Therefore, Shiramine sees little reason her status will change when she moves up to her first year of high school—that is, until she finds herself listed as number two academically for the first time ever.

Knocked off her pedestal by Yurine Kurasawa, a lazy antisocial transfer student who sleeps through class, yet is able to recite text verbatim when woken by their teacher, Shiramine seethes. A natural athlete as well as a prodigy, Kurasawa shows no interest in joining the sports teams that court her as a teammate, which leads her classmates to consider her unapproachable. When Shiramine begins to engage Kurasawa with social invitations in hopes that her newfound popularity will cause her to slip in the ranks, she inadvertently awakens powerful feelings in her rival.

Alternately academically competitive and romantically aggressive, Kurasawa courts her bewildered classmate. One minute, she is leading her to a rose garden, the next she is stealing Shiramine’s first kiss after declaring that she will not be beaten so easily.

Yuri is a genre of manga that focuses on courtship and romantic relationships between girls or women. The word “yuri” itself translates to “lily,” which is obviously in the title of this series. As with many yuri series, the setting of Kiss is at a prestigious girls boarding school. Nary a male in sight, but many of the girls, including Kurasawa and Mizuki, star of the track team, have short hair. Kurasawa’s short, messy blonde hair contrasts with Shirmine’s long, wavy dark tresses, which she crowns with a cute bow at the top of her bangs. Mizuki, who is considered the “prince” of the school, reveals that she cut her own hair so that she could be considered someone who looks good next to the school “princess,” and Mizuki’s love interest, Moe.

Canno makes fantastic use of her characters’ facial expressions to convey their feelings about each action. The girls’ eyes shrink when frustrated, grow large and shine when enamored, and blush deeply when touched by their love interests.

At times, the central relationship between Kuraswa and Shiramine borders on violent. Kurasawa bemoans how easy Shiramine seems to have it, with so many classmates relying on her; then, she appears to choke the other girl before biting her neck. Kurasawa also obsesses on Shiramine’s whereabouts and only shows interest in situations that put the two in the same space. Still, Shiramine eventually warms to Kurasawa, bringing her flowers for her birthday and showing concern for her disinterest in social situations. Nonetheless, the toxic aspects of the more prominent romance could throw readers off, as Kurasawa’s actions would and should be considered big red flags. For this reason, Kiss and White Lily might be more appropriate for an older age than recommended by the publisher.

The aforementioned couple Mizuki and Moe have a much healthier relationship. The girls respectfully discuss their feelings when Mizuki fears that Moe is more interested in Kurasawa than herself. Moe shows steadfast support of Mizuki both as her “prince” and as an athlete. Sprinkled within this volume are shorter tales of younger students and their more subtle flirtation which will surely set hearts aflutter. These quiet vignettes sweeten the story as a whole, in contrast to Kurasawa and Shiramine’s difficult relationship.

Consider purchasing where teen yuri is in demand, but take into consideration the romanticized depiction of a possibly toxic relationship between the two main characters.

Kiss and White Lily For My Dearest Girl, vol. 1
by Canno
ISBN: 9780316553445
Yen Press, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: Teen 13+

  • Jessikah Chautin

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support! Jessikah graduated with her MLS from The Palmer School of Library Science and has been working at the Syosset Public Library as a children’s librarian since 2003. She enthusiastically developed a children’s graphic novel collection for her library and enjoys developing programs around some of her favorite titles. As a child, Jessikah grew up on a healthy diet of Matsumoto, Toriyama and whatever anime series she could find. She often had a hard time deciding if she would prefer to be recruited as a Mahou Shoujo (Magical Girl) or a Gundam Pilot, a debate that still plagues her to this very day. If she could have any power it would definitely be telekinesis.

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