Yuna and Akari meet by chance on a subway platform. When they discover that they live in the same building and are starting at the same high school, they become fast friends; in spite of their drastically different world views. Akari is very practical and is comfortable with boys—she even has a long-distance boyfriend—while Yuna is a dreamy romantic who looks down at her feet as she speaks to boys. The one exception to Yuna’s discomfort with boys is her neighbor and childhood friend, Kazuomim with whom she feels completely at home. As Yuna daydreams about being swept away by a handsome prince, Akari tries to convince her to view Kazuomi in a romantic light. Complicating matters, Yuna meets Akari’s brother Rio, who looks exactly like the prince in her favorite childhood storybook, and she is instantly enamored of him.

In the first volume, Yuna becomes acquaintances with Rio become, and Yuna sees that many girls at their school have crushes on him. Rio tells Yuna that he can’t return any of their affections, because he is in unrequited love with someone who can never know his true feelings. Gradually, Yuna realizes that Rio is in love with Akari; they are actually step-siblings, and he fell in love with her before their parents got married. In the second volume, Yuna confesses to Rio that she has fallen in love with him, and while he doesn’t feel the same way, he lets her down gently and they remain friends. Meanwhile, Akari and her boyfriend break up, and she throws herself into attempting to set up Kazuomi and Yuna. She spends more time with Kazuomi and starts to develop romantic feelings for him.

The characters are drawn in classic shoujo style: Rio and Kazuomi are tall and thin, with broad shoulders, while Yuna and Akari are shorter, with rounded faces and exaggerated eyes. Yuna’s doll-like, light-colored hair is long with neat bangs, reflecting her childlike personality. Akari’s hair is dark and messy, with choppy layers, implying she is too practical to put much time into her appearance and enhancing her girl-next-door vibe. Rio and Kazuomi have very similar boy band-pretty faces and hairstyles, but with Rio’s light hair and Kazuomi’s dark hair, they are easy to differentiate. Backgrounds are gently rendered with bokeh-style shading.

In true shoujo manga fashion, author notes along the sides of some panels enhance the reading experience. A notably charming one is about how as a child Sakisaka thought the English word for spinach was Popeye and once embarrassed herself by calling it that in front of people. At the start and end of each volume, Sakisaka also shares work-related author notes, such as describing her creative process (analog as opposed to digital) and expressing concern that she doesn’t fully feel like she understands Kazuomi’s personality yet. Love Me, Love Me Not is a solid addition to any manga collection, and would be a fun first foray into shoujo for tweens and younger teens.

Love Me, Love Me Not
By Io Sakisaka
Art by Io Sakisaka
ISBN:

VolumeISBN
1978-1-9747-1309-7
2978-1-9747-1310-3

Viz Media, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: Teen
Series Reading Order: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Me,_Love_Me_Not_(manga) (Wikipedia or Goodreads)

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NFNT Age Recommendation: Tween (10-13), Teen (13-16)
Character Traits: Japanese

  • Shira

    | They/Them Youth Services Librarian, Northville District Library

    Shira is from the DC area and is currently a Youth Services Librarian in Northville, Michigan. They have been involved in ALA in an Association for Library Service to Children committee, a Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table committee, and as an elected member of the Executive Board of the Rainbow Round Table. When Shira is not putting comics and queer books into the hands of excited children and teens, they can be found snuggling all the cats, playing drums in rock bands, or testing out recently-purchased board games. Shira also writes professional reviews for School Library Journal and AudioFile Magazine, plus not-so-professional reviews of Baby-Sitters Club books in exhaustive detail for their Goodreads profile (username Shiramario).

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