Notice for Review Requests

I receive review requests weekly. However, my personal schedule is hectic and I no longer review actively. (I also manage another blog called The Toronto Cafe and Food Blog). I do read every request sent but I apologize in advance that I do not reply to them all.

If I do take on a request, I will forewarn that it may take some time before I can review it. I am now looking to review adult fiction and self-help books instead of young adult fiction because I have grown out of it. If you are to request a review for either adult fiction or self-help, I will more likely to give it a shot.

In the meantime, Stop, Drop, and Read! serves as an archive book review blog. When I have the time, I may post a review. Thank you for understanding.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

I Am Here! Vol. 1 by Ema Toyama

Title: I Am Here!
Mangaka: Ema Toyama
Age Group: Teens
Volume(s): 1
My Rating: 1/5
Review Copy?: Yes

[Summary from Kodansha Comics]:
Invisible to her classmates, Hikage Sumino is an eighth-grader with no self-esteem. Her only friends are the visitors to her Internet blog. One day, the most popular boy in the grade suddenly talks to her. Encouraged by this twist of fate, Hikage determines to transform her life.

I'm not entirely back to book blogging, but I have a huge TBR pile that I want to chip away at. Even if it's just a little bit. I Am Here! was one of the very few mangas on my shelf that I never read. I tried reading it this past year, but struggled to finish it. I finally sat down and went at whatever was left (about half the manga) in one fell swoop. I decided to come back on here to do a review since I forced myself to read it.

I Am Here! is your very typical shojo manga. The protagonist is a very shy girl who has no friends and struggles to be noticed. Her hobbies are taking care of a sunflower and blogging snippets of her daily life. Eventually, the popular boy in her class took notice of her and becomes her friend. Which in turn, makes her a target for bullying when other girls noticed that he's paying attention to her.

I had a really hard time digesting this manga because 1) for some reason it's extremely long for one volume, 2) the protagonist's weak character made it hard for me to sympathize, and 3) all the cliches you can think of for a shojo series are there. Even the potential love triangle (which was heavily hinted with the popular guy's best friend). There's not a lot of substance throughout the story. It's primarily Sumino trying to get through the bullying and eventually, standing up for herself. The art is quite generic, nothing that stands out or memorable if you are an avid manga reader. Over the course of my life, I've read shojo series with similar plot devices that were much better.

I say skip over this series altogether unless you have a 10-year-old that likes fluffy shojo series.

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