2016 Reading Challenge · Book review

POPSUGAR’s 2016 Reading Challenge: A graphic novel | Book Review: The Wallflower, Vol. 1

Gel’s little side note: Hey guys! I’m now on my fourth book this year for the POPSUGAR’s and Goodread’s 2016 Reading Challenges. Allow me to share my reading experience with you.

217376
Hayakawa, T. (2004). [First published 2000]. Yamatonadeshiko Shichihenge: The Wallflower, Vol. 1. New York, NY: Del Rey
Some details:

Edition: Paperback, 207 pages

Price: I don’t know, I borrowed it from my best friend (thanks, Mel!)

ISBN:0345479122

Genres: Sequential Art – Manga, Romance, Sequential Art – Graphic Novels

Characters: Sunako Nakahara, Kyohei Takano, Takenaga Oda, Ranmaru Morii, Yukinojo Toyama

Setting: Japan

Do you want to know…

My Goodreads rating: 5/5 stars

 

Comment on the cover: When I first looked at the cover, it did not pique my interest to read the book. The model was gorgeous, not my type though. But, this is just a personal comment. I know that the book is all about four handsome boys trying to change a creepy girl even before. I loved the anime (and I believe I have watched it at least five times already)! It was just disappointing that the cover seemed to lower down my interest. Still, the cover did not lower my ratings because it is so worth it when you read the content.

Plot summary: Four 15-year old stunning boys are allowed to live together in a huge, spectacular mansion-like boarding house for free… on one condition. They must live with a 15 year-old girl, Sunako Nakahara, and make her a “real woman” within three years. Sounds easy? I don’t think so… that girl is one-of-a-kind frightening!

Features: I added this because there are so many helpful pages in this book, you will not get lost. As you have observed, this is a Japanese manga translated into English. Of course, their culture was present in everything — names and honorifics, references, places, etc. Everything that was deemed to be unclear was explained with clarity. I also like that there are author notes spread within the book. I can connect with her and can feel that I was journeying with her! The book has five chapters, and because I have watched the anime, every chapter is equal to an episode. It was amazing that I felt the anime was very close to the manga. Some of the features are: Honorifics explained, Character origination, Translation notes, Preview of book two, and a page at the very last (or, very first in left to right way) that says “STOP! You’re going the wrong way!”. So cool!

The_wallflower_poster
This is the anime adaptation of the book. Sunako is sometimes presented as a small, chubby girl instead of her true physique.

Book discussion: This book has many life lessons. That is one of the most that I appreciate when I read something. Sunako is a girl that has no self-confidence because of hurtful things that were said to her in the past. She took it painfully and that was why she prefers to be alone. The boys, although were sometimes scared to even go near her, work hard to shower her with tips. I believe Sunako’s life was hard. The girls who were all-over the boys were always seen to mock and bully her. The main theme is about change and accepting who you are. But I think it would be a long way yet for Sunako. Even though the book has this underlying serious issues common to teenagers, it presents those with wit, inoffensive humor, and a good amount of romance.

My journey: I was so in love with the book. It has humor and romance in the right places. It was really a page-turner. If I just have the complete volumes, I would binge-read it all! I would stop every time to write quotes or just smile and laugh! After I have read the book, I recommended it to my little brother and sister. They have also watched the anime (in fact, it was Tagalog-dubbed at one of our favorite TV channels and we have also watched English-dubbed on YouTube) and were also very interested. My little sister started it and after an hour, I exclaimed, “Geenelle! Patapos ka na?!” (Geenelle, you’re nearly done?!) She, too was shocked and reluctantly closed the book because it was nearing a late hour in a school day. This book truly deserves 5 stars!

What I like: I can relate with Sunako. Though not to the extreme, I sometimes feel why she acts that way. As what my favorite detective said: Words are like knives. When used incorrectly, they turn into foul weapons. It was really hard when someone says bad things to you, but I got over it, learned from it and changed for the better. She didn’t. She resorted to being alone, with no one to turn to except her inanimate horror figurines and Slasher movies. Though the boys were at first befriending her because of rent… as the story progresses, I know they have learned to like her and grow fond of her. Especially Kyohei, I ship them so bad.

What I dislike: I can point out some. First, the three out of four boys were interchangeable and they did not have enough spotlight to grow in this volume. If you are not observant and cannot tell the difference between them, then a bummer. I was also confused with that because at some times, they look alike! If you haven’t watched the anime, I swear you would have a hard time guessing which is which. Second, Sunako was a perfect representation of what a society thinks a “woman” should be, except for her personality and looks. She is a great cook, can kick ass, knows how to maintain a house. Just… how?! I just found that strange. Third, the boys are god-like. They’re perfect in looks. Girls are all-over them. Please, that’s not really believable. (Kidding, I really don’t care about their looks. As I said, not my type.) I think that was all I have observed.

sunako-1

Round up and recommendation: You would not regret reading this. It was my first time reading manga in print (the other one was Hunter x Hunter online) but I was hooked. I loved the art, the graphics, everything. I am also on my teenage years as them, so their issues are greatly understood by the same-age bracket. This book has many quotable quotes, and I really liked it for that! If you haven’t read manga yet, why not try this? If you have experienced being alone, felt that it was you against the world, were insecure for once, and have been terrified by change, you might wanna read this!

Sample excerpt: Warning: slightly disturbing.

“Is it my fault for not trying…

or is it their fault for being creatures of the light…

Oh, I know!

It’s God’s fault!

It’s God’s fault for making people like them and people like me.

It’s God’s fault that everyone else looks so bright!!!

It’s not my fault!!!”

Tomoko Hayakawa, 2004, 109

Gel’s little side note: Thanks for reading! Up next, I’ll post the quotes I like from the book some time in the future. If you have some suggestions, comments, violent reactions, clarifications, I’ll be glad to hear it from you!

Photos taken from: here, here, and here.

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