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In this standout shojo manga, 12-year-old Ann Uekusa and her mother have been abandoned by Ann's debt-ridden father and forced to move from Tokyo to Ann's grandparents' home in Shimane. At first, Ann feels both oppressed by her mean grandmother and totally out of place in a small town, but once she makes some friends she adapts quickly. When her disillusioned and demoralized mother commits suicide, Ann leans on Daigo, the first boy her own age that she met in Shimane, and their budding romance becomes the story's focus. The book's second half jumps ahead 18 months to a summer camp where Ann deals with a rival scheming for Daigo's affections. Ashihara deals sensitively with her characters' emotions, giving the book a measure of depth and subtlety amid the expected shojo elements (expressionistic backgrounds, romantic complications, and occasional silly bits of business). Her artwork has improved markedly since her earlier series Forbidden Dance, with more delicate lines and more attractive, better-proportioned figures. Rated for older teens by Viz (a subplot concerns Ann's period, and there's one sexual situation involving adults), this ten-volume, true-to-life series is recommended for all collections.