From the back cover:
Hikaru and Kaoru’s fight over Haruhi is taking its toll on Hunny and Mori, who are trying to watch over the estranged twins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Tamaki, Kyoya starts looking for Tamaki’s mother in France.
Three plot threads are simultaneously underway in this volume, though they converge nicely by the end. In the first, Kyoya is using the class trip to France to look for Tamaki’s mother. In the second, Kaoru and Hikaru are fighting over their feelings for Haruhi and Kaoru launches a plan to spur Hikaru into action. And in the third, Tamaki is trying to decide what he wants to do with his life, and a job offer from his dad gives him a lot to consider.
Although I like the twins and enjoyed the chapters focusing on them—wherein Kaoru rightly sees the need for him and Hikaru to establish themselves as individuals but has a rather convoluted way of going about it—the heart of this series for me will always be Haruhi and Tamaki. Tamaki has backed out on the class trip to France at the last minute, but everyone else believes he has gone. There’s a priceless scene around the middle of the book where Haruhi’s on the phone with Kyoya asking how Tamaki’s doing and then spots him lurking in front of her house. There’s a lot more to the scene than that, but I don’t want to spoil it.
Haruhi and Tamaki proceed to have a lovely scene with just the two of them, wherein he gives her license to ask anything about his childhood. He also confides in her that his desire to make people happy comes from a vow to his mother and that he’d also like to carry this oath further into a career. Haruhi’s encouragement clearly means the world to him, and it’s also clear that Haruhi admires him and is getting a bit flustered in his presence (something that completely failed to happen during an outing with Kaoru in the volume’s earlier chapters). When Kyoya is later able to report that Tamaki’s mother is doing well (sniffle alert!), Tamaki decides to embrace his place in the Suoh family and accept his father’s offer to work with a chain of hotels the Suoh corporation owns.
So here we have a volume that features several characters maturing, two reticent characters displaying fondness for Tamaki, a classic bit of comedy, and a scene that brought tears to my eyes. I guess that may not seem like much, but for a largely episodic series like this one, it really is quite a lot. It also, as someone mentions in uncredited narration, is starting to feel like the beginning of the end. I think the timing’s perfect—we’ve had quite a while to enjoy these characters in a variety of situations and now it’s time for some of them to grow up enough to realize that it’s not a bad thing if relationships evolve from their current states. From all present indicators, it would seem the ending is shaping up to be a satisfying one.