Blossom Among Flowers
By: Jay E. Tria
July 15, 2015
New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Being invisible can't be that hard, can it?
Unlike most people, 17-year old Hikaru Saito likes being invisible. Perfectly happy with her nose buried deep in her growing manga collection, she hardly notices how her "harmless hobby" is taking control of her life. But when she fails an important exam, Hikaru is forced to spend more time with her studies and her new tutor, fellow student, campus genius, and golden boy Takeshi Hinata.
Unfortunately for Hikaru, Takeshi's popularity in school forces the spotlight on her too. His adoring fans don't like seeing how much time they spend together and punish her for it. Luckily, Tetsuya Sakuishi, a new young and beautiful teacher, is always there to save the day for Hikaru. It doesn't help that his smile distracts her, however.
Like her tormentors, Hikaru cannot understand why Takeshi keeps showing up in her life long after the tutoring sessions are over. As if the complications of grueling exams and university applications weren't enough, a haughty socialite mother, an imposing business mogul father, and a princess-in-hiding all come bearing down on Hikaru. Through it all, Takeshi is there, looking at Hikaru like she's not invisible after all.
Funny, sweet and delightfully entertaining! It's reminiscent of Hana Yori Dango or more popularly known as Boys Over Flowers - one of the most well-loved series in Asia! If you're looking for something light, read this novel with an open mind, and you'll surely enjoy it.
I think the title aptly describes the main protagonist of the story. Her name is Hikaru. I thought she was an adorable dork when she was first introduced in the story. There's nothing I love more than an awkwardly lovable character, especially if said character is into manga like I am.
At the onset of the story, she is introduced as this highly incompetent student who belonged to the lowest section in their year. This fact is even highlighted by the presence of her twin brother Shintaro,who belonged to a higher section.
The beginning of the story was funny and light. It was very easy to understand where Hikaru's priorities lie when forced to choose between hobby and academics. She's not stupid. She's just an escapist. I think that's part of her charm as an individual. She'd rather stay home and be with her manga collection rather than go out and do what all the other popular kids do (which I think is perfectly acceptable, but that's just me). I think this is what makes her the lone blossom among a sea of flowers.
On the other hand, the male lead -- Takeshi. At first I thought of him as the strong-and-silent-type. Think Hua Ze Lei in Meteor Garden, Hanazawa Rui in Hana Yori Dango or Yoon Ji Hoo in Boys Over Flowers. He was a bit bland at first because he was the archetypal rich guy. He was insanely smart, popular and well-liked. In the highschool strata, he was on the very top of the food chain -- in direct opposition of where our lady protagonist is. However, as the story progressed, Takeshi became more animated.
By the middle of the story, I realized that Takeshi is in fact the Dao Ming Si in Meteor Garden, the Doumyoji Tsukasa in Hana Yori Dango, or the Goo Jun Pyo of Boys Over Flowers. He was still the archetypal rich guy, but subsequent events in the story showed him to be someone who was just as confused as everyone else. He wasn't really the put-together prince he always portrayed. This somehow humanized him and gave him depth as a character.
I really appreciated the Japanese pop culture references that were incorporated into the story. Some people might not be able to relate to these references, but I'm proud to say that I'm not one of them. This definitely contributed to my enjoyment of the story. You would not believe the amount of swooning and fan-girling that happened while I was reading this story. It was not a pretty sight.
The only thing that bothered me about the whole story was the second male lead, Tetsuya. His introduction as the second male lead to the supposed love triangle in the story didn't sit quite well with me. His attraction towards Hikaru felt forced. It was like he was placed in the story for the sake of having a love triangle. I was looking for a deeper connection between him and Hikaru so that he could effectively be a threat to Takeshi, but there was none. I felt that he wasn't effectively used as a character. He could've been more, but he fell short.
All in all, I really enjoyed the story. Like I said at the beginning, it was very reminiscent of Hana Yori Dango or Boys Over Flowers. It reminded me of everything Japanese that I enjoyed. It brought my inner otaku satisfaction and happiness. If you're up for it, this might just be your cup of tea, or 'sake' if you're feeling Japanese.
Jay E. TriaOfficial site: www.jayetria.com
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