Taichi has to deal with the immense guilt from Toma's broken leg. If Taichi hadn't tried to save the kitten from being run over by a car, Toma wouldn't have tried to say Taichi, and he wouldn't have an injury that completely ended his baseball season, just when the team on the cusp of qualifying for the summer tournament. Futaba tries to console Taichi and discovers just how much she cares for him. Taichi and Toma lash out at each other for the injury - Taichi claims responsibility for ruining Toma's dreams, but ultimately, the argument ends with Toma expressing that Taichi's life is more important than his dreams of becoming a professional athlete. Taichi begins to understand some of the feelings Toma has been unable to express before, and he doesn't quite know what to do about it all.
This volume is full of raw emotions and characters wrestling with some really difficult feelings. KAITO beautifully crafts heartfelt moments, one of which is depicted on the cover of this volume. I feel the pain and confusion Taichi is going through as he mourns more than anyone for the loss of Toma's future. It will also be interesting to see in future volumes how Taichi comes to terms with the feelings others have for him that we as readers have known for some time. While the characters definitely struggle with having feelings for someone of the same sex, KAITO's attention and care with his characters gives me hope that this series will be one to normalize those feelings.
This volume's Teen Plus rating is most likely from the inclusion of same-sex crushes that generally elevate books from a regular teen rating.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
This review was made possible with a digital reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley.
Reviews previous volumes in this series: vol 1, vol 2
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBTQ+, Slice Of Life
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