Wandering Son (vol. 5) by Shimura Takako, translated by Matt Thorn
If you don’t like spoilers, might I suggest you click here to catch up. This series is so uniquely delightful, you really shouldn’t miss a volume; trust me, they do need to be read in order. This latest installment officially hits shelves tomorrow.
Welcome to junior high school with new classroom assignments and classmates. Once best buddies, Nitori Shuichi – the boy who wants to be a girl – and Takatsuki Yoshino – the girl who wants to be a boy – are “still … yeah,” as in more estranged than not. The contemplatively quiet Shuichi finds himself spending most of his time with the ever-chatty Ariga Makoto who also encourages and shares Shuichi’s cross-dressing adventures.
On the first day of school, Sarashina Chizuru makes her series debut by grabbing everyone’s attention when she shows up in a boy’s uniform: “… because I felt like it,” she tells her sidekick Shirai Momoko (anther series newbie). Chizuru is definitely a girl who knows her own mind … including choosing Yoshino as a new friend, while somehow managing to seriously irk aloof beauty queen Chiba Saori.
Shuichi and Yoshino share the same Class Three, led by “first-year teacher” Saisho who can’t quite get to class on time, but immediately notices that adorable Shuichi looks too much like his first childhood love. The two friends’ lives overlap very little during the new year as they each face new feelings, relationships, and challenges. The prospect of working together on a new school play – another gender-bender in the making – just might throw them back together.
Sweet and gentle, with just enough angst and worry over changing bodies and emotional alliances, creator Shimura Takako continues to share an enlightening journey toward maturity in a fluid new world that defies easy labels. Go ahead, the weekend’s almost here: settle in for a bit of youthful revelation.
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult
Published: 2013 (United States)