Rummanah Aasi
  It's really hard finding graphic novels that are appropriate for middle school readers. One has to be weary of how much violence or any other objectionable things found in graphic novels. Although one can argue that these objectionable things can be found in prose, the fact that it is depicted in graphic novels makes this format easily targeted. Thankfully, Miki Falls is an excellent graphic novel that is reading level appropriate along with a great story, romance, and characters. I recently finished the second volume of this four volume series.

Description (from back of the book): Has Miki fallen too hard? It's summer, and Miki Yoshida is learning all about love. Her senior year has blossomed with promise ever since she gained Hiro Sakurai's confidence. Now, she's resolved to keep his trust as he reveals more about his secret mission and warns:  "Don't get involved!""But Miki fears his work might do more harm than good, and she takes control—with disastrous results. How can trying to make things right turn out so dangerously wrong?

Review: I'm really enjoying the Miki Falls series! Summer takes place a few months after the first volume, Spring, but readers new to this series don't necessarily need to read the first book in order to enjoy this latest installment. Crilley provides enough recap to not drag the story down and continues at a good pace to keep the story moving forward. Miki has been successful in gaining Hiro's confidence and discovered his big secret. Now the two have formed a strong friendship as Miki learns about what exactly Hiro's special mission entails. As Miki learns more about Hiro and his past, she begins to realize that her place next to Hiro is impossible yet she can't help but feel close to him and she thinks Hiro feels the same.
 In Summer, we see Miki and Hiro become more dimensional characters. While Hiro tries to back away from Miki and conceal his feelings for her, Miki pushes forward and dares to ask why. She refuses to take no as an answer and doesn't dissolve into a pool of tears, which is one of the reasons why I like her so much. Similarly Hiro struggles with his choice of doing his duty or listening to his heart. More information about Hiro's job is provided in the book, which is really unique and interesting. We also see a female acquaintance of Hiro's past that adds more tension to this sweet love story.
   Miki Falls is an OEL, original English language manga-style graphic novel series. It is perfect for those readers who are hesitate about reading Japanese manga yet curious about the stories they contain. The soft black and white illustrations perfectly complement this gentle story about first love. I especially love the set up of separate panels that express the emotions that run across the character's faces making them real. I hope that you pick up Miki Falls and I look forward to reading Autumn, the third volume of the series. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended to strong Grade 4 readers and up.

If you like this book try:  Miki Falls Volume 3: Autumn by Mark Crilley
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