Honey Lemon Soda, Vol. 1

Yen Pr. (Honey Lemon Soda). Jan. 2023. 192p. pap. $13.00. ISBN 9781975363314.
Gr 7 Up–Uka Ishimori has always struggled to form relationships. Even in school, her shy demeanor makes her a target, sadly leaving her with little confidence in herself. An unexpected act of kindness changes everything. One lemon soda from a boy with lemon-colored hair nudges her out of her spiral, giving her the impetus to make changes. Kai Miura may have only taken her under his wing reluctantly, but there are hints that genuine feelings will form. As of the first volume though, he just comes to Uka’s rescue multiple times, not realizing the effect he has on her. This series starter has the typical “shy girl meets cool boy” setup, where one character is easily swept up by the actions of the other. Uka’s steady internal monologue does make her an empathetic character, but at this point, she shows only the first hints of growth. While the artwork has the usual bright-eyed shoujo appeal, the pages are sometimes cluttered.
VERDICT A few splashes of lemon soda are enough to lay the groundwork for this light romance, but only later volumes will determine its overall value.

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