Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Happy Book Birthday, Gazing at the Star Next Door by Ammitsu!

It's finally time to shout-out another book birthday! This one is perfect for Valentine's Day and promises tons of sweetness, butterflies, and romance. I'm expecting a lighter tale and am really looking forward to the artwork, since the mangaka isn't new to the scene and has already delivered enjoyable works. 

by Ammitsu
Kodansha Comics
YA Romance  /  Manga
192 pages

What do you do when your best friend (and secret crush) becomes a national sweetheart ? This story of unrequited love between a girl and her best friend, whose acting career is pulling him further and further away, is perfect for fans of In the Clear Moonlit Dusk and Kimi ni Todoke .

Chiaki is a pretty normal teenage girl. Since they were kids, she's had a thing for her best friend Subaru--who's fast becoming the hottest young actor in Japan! With Subaru threatening to slip away, Chiaki has a decision to Will she finally take her shot, or give Subaru up to his adoring public?

GOODREADS    /    B&N   /  KODANSHA   /    KOBO


Sweet friendship swirls with hesitation and doubts to stir up all of that shojo goodness.

Chiaki and Subaru have best friends forever, and Chiaki is thrilled to see Subaru quickly becoming a star. But that also means that he's drawing further and further away from her world of normalness. Worse yet, he's surrounded by more and more female fans, and that isn't making her long hidden crush on him any easier to handle. But she doesn't want to ruin anything, either, and does her best to cope with the new reality. Her thoughts of simply steering her feelings toward a different guy are also proving difficult. Everyone knows she's friends with Subaru and are now treating her differently. While she's cheering on Subaru as he jets into fame, she's caught in the wake turbulence with no idea how to steer through it.

This comes from a very talented mangaka. So, I picked this one up with quite a bit of excitement. Of course, I wasn't disappointed. The artwork is very well done, there's a lovely balance between emotions and fun, and it pulls at the sympathy in all the right ways...if you're a shojo-fan. This manga does hold the trope's usual cliches and plot flow, which is also something fans of this direction will adore. It does, however, add enough of an unique twist to give it a slightly new atmosphere. 

Chiaki isn't just meeting Subaru, but rather, knows him as well as a brother. This creates a different atmosphere between the two and changes the attitude she has toward him and those around her. It presents slightly different problems and possibilities. Luckily, the characters are interesting and have enough depth to draw sympathy. Plus, there's needed balance added in the character of Chiaki's friend, who brings a dash of spice and banter.

This does slide right into the trope its meant for, and it does this with finesse, while setting the stage for the rest of the series. It's romantic, sweet, and leaves the doors wide open to see where the changing friendship between Chiaki and Subaru will lead because there promises to be so much more to come.

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