Ten years after shonen and shojo manga took American teens by storm, we are seeing more diverse titles beyond ninjas and panty flashes. Drawing on traditions from the 1960s gekiga (Japanese for "dramatic pictures") movement, this slice-of-life story itself comes in slices for readers to assemble into a coherent picture. And an ugly picture it is. Waifish Ian and his Boswell, the American writer Jim, sit at the center. Jim claims to be writing a piece about Ian, perhaps an article, perhaps a novel. Through multilayered flashbacks, we learn first about Ian's tragic death (presumably) and then about his earlier trips from his native Australia to England and thence to America, searching for his sister and more broadly for emotional home and connections. As the slices tumble out, clues accumulate unexpectedly about Ian's wildly dysfunctional family. Oddly, Ian seems consistently sweet and able to inspire affection and trust in strangers, if not among his own relatives. VERDICT With deceptively simple art that decries the title, this comes out a small classic of sidewise storytelling coupled with oddly likable, if mostly unsympathetic, characters. For older teens and up.—M.C.