Umineko When They Cry by Ryukishi07 is about a teenaged boy named Battler who goes to a family reunion at his grandfather’s home after six years of not seeing his uncles, aunts, and cousins. Battler is happy to be back among his cousins, but his aunts and uncles and parents are more interested in arguing about who gets the inheritance after the patriarch, Battler’s grandfather, dies and Battler’s youngest cousin, Maria, tells of a bad omen. Battler also doesn’t believe in the witch that supposedly inhabits the island and gave his grandfather his fortune, but after a storm strands his family and his grandfather’s servants on the island and six of the eighteen people on the island disappear and are brutally murdered, he starts to have his doubts.
I really loved this book because it was the first manga I had read in a while and I was immediately hooked by the plot. Although some of Battler’s characteristics contrasts his overall personality (he’s kind of sexist), he and his cousins are very intelligent, likable characters. Fans of Maximum Ride will like Maria; she reminded me of a slightly more creepy, occult-fascinated Angel.
Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley is about Angie Chapman, who thinks she has only been missing from a Girl Scout camping trip for only three days, but instead learns that she has been gone for three years. The book follows her as she tries to go back to living a normal life, figure out what happened to her, and why she doesn’t remember.
I liked this book more than I thought I would because the characters were very complex and realistic and the plot, although a bit far-fetched at times, also was realistic yet fantastic. However, the book dealt with dissociative identity disorder and talking to Angie’s different identities through hypnosis, and since I had taken psychology this year and knew that both of those things are very untrustworthy, very suggestible and very easy to manipulate and act out, I was a bit turned off. However, as the story started to reach its climax, I became more engaged and almost forgot that they weren’t so reliable.
Scowler by Daniel Kraus is about Ry Burke, whose abusive father was finally checked and thrown in jail thanks to Ry’s three favorite toys and imaginary friends (a British teddy bear named Mr. Furrington, Jesus, and a bloodthirsty monster named Scowler). However, just when Ry, his mother, and his younger sister are about to leave behind their home and the memories that went along with it, a meteor shower strikes their area, and with comes the return of Ry’s father. Although he has rejected them for years, Ry must call on his imaginary friends for help once again.
I was kind of let down by this book because while the beginning and middle were very good, and the character of Ry and his mother were well-developed, the ending was very chaotic and confusing and I didn’t understand what was going on very well. I wasn’t sure if Ry had become Scowler or if the toy Scowler had been burned up on the stairs or if Ry had been seriously wounded and if he had, why he was up and about trying to kill his mother and sister. Even though the book wrapped up nicely, I was still left wondering what the heck had just happened.