Josee, the Tiger and the Fish

Yen Pr. Sept. 2022. 412p. pap. $24. ISBN 9781975341732.
Gr 8 Up–Tsuneo loves the ocean and dreams of becoming an oceanographer. He is offered a chance to study abroad, but he doesn’t have the funds to achieve his education and goal. A chance encounter literally comes his way when he stops a runaway wheelchair, occupied by a young woman named Josee. After the incident, Josee’s grandmother hires Tsuneo to look after Josee, who is against the idea; while her grandmother wants to limit her interactions with the outside world, fearing the prejudices she has faced for having a disability, Josee yearns for more experiences of her own. Tsuneo strives to reach Josee through the wall she puts up between them, until finally the two bond over an impromptu trip to the beach, leading to a friendship that ultimately evolves into a romance. Without shying away from the ugliness of ableism, this manga charts a gradual arc of hope and possibility, as Josee begins to experience life and love on her own terms. The artwork captures the magic of the ocean and the dreams Tsuneo and Josee both share, and is sure to enrapture readers.
VERDICT A beautiful story about achieving one’s dreams, while showing compassion without being condescending.

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