Rummanah Aasi
  Mark Crilley is mostly known for his Akiko novels and comic books. I was unaware that he also wrote Miki Falls, a manga-like supernatural romance series. Just the fact that a male, American writer writing a love story, especially told from a female point of view, and creating manga inspire drawings piqued my interest. Unlike many manga and graphic novel series, Miki Falls is completed and only contains four volumes, which are published by HarperTeens. You may recognize this title from my Bizarre Love Triangle Booklist for Valentines Day.

Description: Miki is ready for adventure and romance. She is tired of being a pushover and vows that her senior year of high school will be different. She will be confident and in charge. Her senior resolution is called into question when Miki sets her sights on Hiro, a tall, handsome new boy at school who is determined to be antisocial. Miki thinks Hiro is putting on a show and hiding a dangerous secret, but what is it? Miki is determined to find out.

Review: Miki Falls is exactly what I needed at the moment. After reading a few titles that left me in a "blah" mood, Miki Falls is a fresh of breath air for me and I'm so glad that I picked it up. As the story begins, Miki is both literally and figuratively falling out of a window and possibly in love too. We learn that Miki threw herself outside of a third story window. The reason is not given, however, we think it has to do something with Hiro, the mysterious and distant new boy that enrolled in Miki's high school as Miki beings to explain on how everything happened.
  Miki is a extremely likable teen. She is trying to confront her insecurities and no longer wants to be passive. She wants to take charge of her life, which at times makes her impulsive and stubborn especially when she refuses to be avoided by Hiro. She goes out of her way to be nice to him and to speak to him even though he has continually expressed his disinterest in anyone yet Miki sees a vulnerability in Hiro, a person who is much like herself- a rule follower and not living life.
  Hiro is your typical brooding love interest who is hiding a secret. I liked how his revelation is an odd twist and something that I didn't guess. Crilley does a great job in building suspense and mystery surrounding Hiro's past and his mood swings. I can't wait to see how the supernatural aspect of the book develops in the next three series.
  I really enjoyed Crilley's manga-like format. Unlike manga's the book does not read from right to left nor are the illustrations squeezed into panels. A lot of the illustrations are crisscrossing sequential panels that emphasize art as well as furthering the plot, which allows the story's emotion, humor, and drama unfold in front of the readers. My favorite part of the illustrations are the focus on the eyes of the characters that are cut in between dialogue to heighten the characters' sense of vulnerability, confusion, and shock. Crillye's light shading and unique facial features give the book a softer and romantic feel. 
  If you are curious about manga but a bit afraid of it's format, I would highly suggest to pick up the Miki Falls series not only to read a great story but also to experience what reading a manga might feel like. Even though the characters are in their teens, I think this series has a wide age appeal very much similar to the Twilight Saga due to a chaste yet passionate love story. It's definitely worth checking it out.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. This is a very clean romance that I would recommend to well read 4th graders and up.

If you like this book try: Miki Falls Vol 2: Summer by Mark Crilley
4 Responses
  1. I really loved Miki Falls! It's a bit of a tough sell for some of my teens-it's too romancey, it's not manga, but I loved it!


  2. Sarah: I can't wait to read the rest of the series! I know what you mean. I had the same problem book talking "Twilight" when it first came out, but then people caught on once they started reading it. I can see the same thing for this title too. :)


  3. Alison Says:

    This sounds great! I haven't heard of it. I wonder if it would be a good transition into manga for a non-fan.
    What is an Akiko novel?


  4. Alison, Akiko is Mark Crilley's graphic novel series for children. It's about a 4th grader named Akiko who is put in charge of a mission to rescue a kidnapped prince on the distant (and awfully strange) planet Smoo. There are 10 volumes in that series. As for Miki, I think it would make an excellent transition for a non-manga fan to a manga fan. Give it a shot and I'd love to hear your thoughts if you decided to read it!


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