Aya-Chan, Mitsuki’s best friend from her childhood, is back in Japan, back playing basketball, and just finished a tournament opposite Mitsuki’s new Fab Four basketball friends. But there’s something very different about Aya - she’s not a girl! While Mitsuki wrestles with this new information, and how it fits in to all her memories of Aya, Towa is determined not to lose to Aya in any way. Mitsuki tries to fit in with some girls in her class by inviting them to karaoke, but she’s an afterthought the whole time. She confesses her lack of friend making skills to Kyōsuke, one of the four basketballers, and he promises to get to know her better and be a better friend. Mitsuki doesn’t quite trust the offer but also doesn’t want to snub a chance at a friend! Aya finds out Mitsuki works at the Words Café across from the basketball court where they meet, and after one of her shifts, he’s very forward and promises to take her on a date after the next tournament. Mitsuki isn’t sure still how to handle Aya being a boy, let alone asking her on a date!
Illustrated by Steph C.
Jessica Cruz is a high school junior with lots of difficult decisions to make. She has to decide to renew her DACA status, something that will put a target on her back but might help keep her undocumented parents safe. She has to fill out college applications and hope her own undocumented status won’t jeopardize her goals. She helps her family around the house as much as she can, and she has landed a prestigious museum fellowship. All of this leaves little room for friends and hanging out. When her father is taken away by ICE agents, Jessica finds herself stuck between two warring Aztec gods - one says she should be a bridge for her family and friends and lean on them, the other tells her to take action against ICE and save her father by using her anger to fuel her.
Illustrated by Lisa Sterle
New girl Becca worries about making friends in her new town and new high school in Richmond, a suburb of San Francisco. When she saves the day for popular Marley, she's brought into the circle of the most popular girls in school. Becca soon discovers the secret to this tight-knit group: Marley, Arianna, and Mandy are werewolves, and they prey on skeezy boys who use unscrupulous means to seduce girls at parties. They bring Becca into the fold, and there are a lot of rules to being part of the squad. At one party, Becca goes too far with her super-human strength, and her actions jeopardize the entire pack. The FBI get involved in trying to solve the various murders in the Bay Area, and the solid moral rules the pack had in place start to crumble.
Asakusa wants to join the Anime Club at school because she aspires to create it in her future. She drags along her friend, Kanamori, who’s singularly minded on making things profitable. At their first meeting, they triumphantly rescue Mizusaki from her body guards, and the three discover their hidden talents would compliment each other perfectly: Asakusa draws insanely detailed worlds, Mizusaki loves creating characters, and Kanamori has a producer’s attention to detail and scheduling. The three form their own club, Eizouken - a group for Moving Image Studies. They piece together a “studio” in a dilapidated building, scrounge together some tools, and create their first pitch for the Student Council in hopes of having an actual club budget.
Miku suddenly starts seeing really gruesome evil spirits. Instead of reacting to them, she’s convinced that if she pretends she can’t see anything, they’ll go away. It works for the most part, but it doesn’t stop Miku from feeling terrified every time one of them shows up. Miku and her friend try to live normal lives — getting tea, going shopping, but Miku’s constant moments of fear start to freak everyone else out. Miku buys some prayer beads to hopefully keep the spirits away from her, but every strand she puts on breaks and scatters beads everywhere. A vendor and spiritually powerful fortune teller gives Miku her best set of prayer beads, which also breaks, forcing the fortune teller into retirement in disgrace. All the fun and games are pushed aside when Miku comes down for breakfast, and finds much more than a terrifying spirit in her kitchen.
Illustrated by Tōru Naomura
Students at the elite private school, Hyakkaou Academy, aren't interested in getting great grades or joining clubs. The Academy prioritizes the ability to manipulate people, and the most popular past time at the school is gambling. There's a very strict caste system that ranks students based on their winnings and how good they are at gambling. Suzui finds himself in the lowest of casts after a disappointing lost to Mary - he becomes a "house pet" and has to do everything Mary says. Then, transfer student, Jabami, surprises everyone by coming in and destroying Mary in a special game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Jabami then challenges several other students, including some powerful members of the Student Council, and Suzui goes along for the crazy ride.
Illustrated by Akinari Nao
Yusuka is a major video-game fan who doesn't really care about planning for his future or getting into a great high school. One day after school, he finds himself transported into another world with two very cute classmates. They have already been in this fantasy world before, and they help get Yasuka situated. The Game Master shows up with half a face and incomplete sentences, and spins the class wheel for Yasuka to land on farmer! Yasuka's classmates are a warrior and a Wind wizard, so he definitely needs to work hard to catch up to their strength. The three of them need to complete this round, then await being transported again for the next round, where another player will join them. This will continue until they beat all ten rounds of the game. If they fail, their lives, and the fate of everyone in Tokyo is on the line!
Adapted by Naoshi Arakawa
After the strange disappearance of Mitsuru and an ominous trail of blood where he was, the seven remaining students try to solve the mystery of their situation with some heightened anxiety. Shimizu theorizes that this situation is like the Langoliers Incident, and they’ve been pulled into the subconscious of the person who committed suicide. The others reject her notion as foolish and too much like a Stephen King novel. Shimizu finds Takano alone in the hallway, trying to figure out who committed suicide. Shimizu recounts her friendship with Takano, their friendly rivalry, and ultimately her plans for her future, but soon realizes that this isn’t Takano. Later, then real Takano and Akihito discuss the premise of this predicament: maybe they’re being punished by the person who committed suicide because they didn't do enough to save their classmate.
Makoto and her cat Chito move in with her distant relatives away from Tokyo in Aomori, a small town in the countryside of Japan. There, Makoto hopes to complete her training as a witch. Her family knows about her powers, but Makoto isn’t supposed to talk about it to non-relatives. That doesn’t stop her from telling Nao, a girl at her school she befriends. Makoto often gets lost around Aomori, so occasionally she’ll take Chito with her, who has walked the neighborhood enough to not get lost. Makoto does some basic magic with her young cousin, Chinatsu, who isn't a witch. The two, along with Kei, Chinatsu's older brother, ready an abandoned plot of land to make a garden, as growing plants is part of Makoto's study of magic. Makoto's sister, Akane, also makes a surprise visit to see how Makoto is settling in, and Akane accidentally has Makoto unleash a pretty powerful spell to summon crows.
Mitsuki started at a new high school far away from her middle school in the hopes of starting fresh. She has some social anxieties and desperately wants to make friends, but doesn’t know how. Four best friends on the boy’s basketball team invade the quiet sanctuary of her job at a café, but without their screaming entourage of adoring girl fans, the boys are decent. One of them is in love with Mitsuki's coworker, and he's convinced if he comes around often enough, she'll fall in love with him too. The boys are initially rude to Mitsuki, but they slowly prove they're good people and become Mitsuki's friends. Another girl at Mitsuki’s school, Reina-chan, also becomes her friend, but she has a slightly unhealthy obsession with the basketball boys that we don’t quite get fully explained (preliminary signs point to a boys-love fantasy). Mitsuki and Reina-chan go to the first Basketball game, and Mitsuki leads the crowd of admirers in cheers that help the boys get to their first victory.
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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