27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Graphic Novel, Teen Books · Tags:

Wandering Son by Shimura Takako, 208 pages, read by Courtney, on 02/17/2013

Wandering Son follows two fifth-graders as they navigate the beginnings of adolescence. One is Shuichi Nitori, a boy who would rather be a girl. The other is his good friend, Yoshino Takatsuki, a girl would would prefer to be a boy. Both are from good, loving homes and are both well-liked by their classmates. Often mistaken as members of the opposite gender, both children feel more at home in their bodies when they dress and act as such.
This is an unusual and somewhat provocative topic for manga, but the intertwining stories of these two kids’ stories does not focus on sexuality. It does, however, focus intently on personal identity. Yoshino and Shuichi are both sweet and endearing. Readers will hopefully empathize with their struggles and, ideally, learn to accept that gender is not always as black-and-white as it may seem.
The artwork here is nice enough, though I was expecting more from a hardcover manga. I often had difficulty telling characters apart since the sparse drawing style made many of the characters look similar. Overall, Wandering Son is sweet and earnest in its storytelling, making it appropriate even for younger readers who may wish to better understand themselves or their peers.

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