During the month of July, I read the first two volumes of two really spectacular YA manga series. The first is "The Girl from the Other Side," by Nagabe, and I cannot emphasize enough how wonderfully weird it is. It is definitely the best manga I've ever read, if not the best graphic novel I've ever read. It appears to be based on a Celtic Fairy Tale. The setting is a medieval villiage where a mysterious illness is turning all of the citizens into monsters upon contact. In their terror, the villagers fled to the palace grounds, mistakenly leaving a small girl in the forest. She is somehow taken in by one of the monsters, who cares for her as his own. This story is just magical and beautiful and everything.
The other manga I read was Dreamin' Sun, by Ichigo Takano, and it is also excellent. It is a "slice of life," style story, which I wouldn't expect to enjoy nearly as much as I did. The art is ririculously cute and all of the characters are beautiful and lovable. The main character is a girl who feels out of place in her home, and so moves into a shared house with a bunch of guys and proceeds to fall in love with one of them. Sounds simple, but grows constantly more complicated and intriguing.
If anyone is looking for good, fresh, interesting manga or graphic novels, please direct them to these stories! I strongly believe that even someone who does not typically read manga could not help but fall in love with these books!