FICTION
Silver Spoon: Vol. 1
tr. from Japanese by Amanda Haley. illus. by Hiromu Arakawa. 192p. Yen. Feb. 2018. pap. $15. ISBN 9780316416191.
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Gr 7 Up-Yuugo has always been a top student, but he doesn't have plans for when he finishes school. He enrolls in Ooezo Agricultural High School, hoping to take it easy and devote more time to preparing for college entrance exams, but realizes he's bitten off more than he can chew. Early mornings of tending to farm animals and classes on unfamiliar subjects are even harder for the competitive student when he's surrounded by classmates who have spent their entire lives on farms. But as he makes friends and relaxes, he starts to discover what's truly important to him. Fans of Arakawa's wildly popular alternate history "Fullmetal Alchemist" will notice similarities in the characters' depictions and personalities but should expect something very different from this funny, slice-of-life story. Simply drawn characters, rolling landscapes, strong dialogue and interactions, and plenty of farming facts make this an engrossing read.
VERDICT Hand this one to manga enthusiasts looking for tales in the vein of Satsuki Yoshino's "Barakamon."-Thomas Jonte, Pensacola State College, FL

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