This young girl is often mistreated by her family, being called ugly and useless. One day, she meets the new wife of the Yee family, which changes her life forever. The woman adopts her into her wealthy family, and now she lives with 3 other boys around her age. But for what purpose? Even though this is a miracle, the girl plans to leave the luxurious lifestyle once she turns 18. So see how she survives more than 10 years of her life.
Two things really stick out about this manga and earn it a solid 3/10: the storyline (that ending, UGH!), and the themes/characters.
From the very beginning, the pacing of the story was just...off. Scene changes are very unclear, and chapters end very abruptly. More than that, the storyline was just...so random and difficult to follow. I just spent a lot of time wondering WHY anything was happening. The manga indulged in some cliches and completely skipped over obvious ones. Characters appeared and disappeared at will. There were SO many loose ends that were never addressed. Like, what the heck happened
to Julie's sister? And on that note, what the heck happened to Julie? There was literally NO ENDING. I just felt like I was being dragged kicking and screaming in a pointlessly odd confusing direction through the plot.
And, ah. The characters. Ryan represents just about everything I hate in shoujo manga. He's cruel, possessive, disrespectful, and treats the main girl character totally like an object. He gets nicer, but his abusive behavior doesn't get addressed. He slaps her, whines about how she doesn't understand him...he cuts off her hair and sticks it on a teddybear. Now, I don't know about you, but I would be FREAKED OUT by that. Nope; she's just touched. And I'd like to clarify that he's more than just physically abusive when he's still "coming to terms with his feelings". Even when he's "nice", he continues to treat her like an object.
And, boy. Those "plot twists" in the last two or three chapters...real gems there. I mean, characters that were barely introduced COMPLETELY changed their tune. Ryan's life is pretty much in the toilet, and I'm wondering if he's going to turn into a serial killer. Julie is potentially in danger. I have NO IDEA what Ryan is thinking, and Lance is sort of on the way to the rescue...and then BAM. Nostalgic recollection to the bizarre hook of the series. That's IT.
Oh, and it's not terribly important, but the third brother? He's twelve years old, and a sixteen year old girl is after him. That's just...gross. And he's SO IMMATURE and CRUEL about it. "I hate you! Don't ever come near me again!" And tears are STREAMING down her face instantly...just...wow. Gross. Creepy. I don't care about a four year age difference, I really don't. It just depends on how old you are. It's gross for a four year old to like a baby. It's gross for a sixteen year old to like a twelve year old. Twenty eight year old and a twenty four year old? Who the heck cares, right? But there's a BIG developmental difference between sixteen and twelve.
Okay. Off of my soap box, but, yeah.
In conclusion, this manga was just weird. Beyond weird. I have no idea what I just read, or why. The mangaka didn't seem to have a handle on the plot or direction of the story, and the parts she did have a handle on (Julie, Ryan, and the little brother whatever his name is) I am disgusted by. The manga endorses abusive relationships.
I mean, what the heck! If there were no good guys for Julie, if she had no options, sure! Put her with Ryan. Maybe there's no such thing as compatibility. But Ryan's younger brother Lance is pretty much perfect, and he's RIGHT THERE. He treats her with incredible kindness, respect, and consideration. Is that really so unromantic to just go with the nice guy instead of the guy who calls you ugly and tried to kill you a few times? I mean, come ON!
If you're looking for a good heartfelt manga, look no further than Gapz Garden. The story's about a girl that lives as a Cinderella-like character (although, really, the whole family's dirt poor) named Julie. Her mother and sister constantly remind her of how ugly and useless she is. One day, she gets her sister's plane stuck in a tree and meets the Yee family. She is captivated by the middle brother's kindness. Soon after, Lady Yee is found hanging in the basement. All the brothers believe the cause of their mother's death is their father's girlfriend, who is actually a nice and caring lady and
only wants to take care of them (from what I've read). After an encounter with Julie and her father, she decides to adopt Julie into the family. At first, she is picked on to no end, but her perseverance and pure, good heart win over the oldest son's affections. However, Julie still writes the middle brother, Lance, after he leaves for America, using her sister's name (Lance apparently had a crush on her sister, noticing her beauty). The rest plays out in a series of events that brings the family together, breaks them apart, and their is a common theme of learning how to forgive.
I'm one for the really out-there manga. The manga that almost no one has read, isn't very popular, but has a great plotline and okay-art. Actually, I prefer rough art in comparison to beautiful art, because I think you can really feel emotions with rough art, as if it was written for the story, not the art.
Julie is one of those characters you just can't hate, but she is surrounded by characters you love to hate. However, all of these characters and their relationships are quite complex. The series keeps me entertained, pulls on my heart strings, and makes me fall in love with Ryan, the oldest son. He's just so cute! And. Ugh. When he cries. My heart just MELTS. So, if you're looking for a good shoujo novel with some drama, look no farther than this series.