By Kota Nozomi and Azuri Hyuga. Released in Japan as “Kimitte Watashi no Koto Suki Nandeshou?” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Tentai Books. Translated by Noor Hamdan.
I sometimes get the feeling that light novels have a quota system, where the author is allowed to actually get to the plot they want to write about provided they include at least three scenes of the heroine teasing the hero, one where it rebounds back on her, five different descriptions of her voluptuous body, etc. There’s even the standard sudden cliffhanger that is there for no reason than to force people to pick up Book 3 and not drop the series. (That said, I will warn readers: this volume came out two years ago in Japan, and there has been no sign of a third.) Fortunately, when the book does get around to actual interesting stuff, such as Kasumi’s past and home life, it manages to elevate itself to ‘pretty good’. That said, now that we’re in a semi-glut of “cutest girl in school goes out with reader-surrogate’ books, it’s going to have to lift a bit above its weight class, and it’s not doing so.
The first half of this book is essentially plotless, showing the low-level relationship our two protagonists are in, and watching Kasumi having fun trying to get a reaction out of Soukichi. The two of them discuss cheating, and the definitions of what it entails, and it will surprise no one that Soukichi is quite pure. Even if he does read erotic light novels. The second half of the book introduces actual plot: Kasumi’s friend Ann corners Soukichi and asks him for advice on how to hook up with Soukichi’s friend Tokiya, who rescued her from her ex-boyfriend the other day and who she is now smitten with. Also, Soukichi and Kasumi go on their first real date, and it’s very cute and fluffy… except for one point where Kasumi has an awkward meeting with a middle school girl, who turns out to be connected to her.
The good part of this book is examining the way that Kasumi carries herself and behaves around others, which she seems to see as a weakness, but nearly everyone else sees as her strong point. It will come as no surprise to find that she thinks of Soukichi the same way. The balance between growing up fast and still being able to be childish is tough, and she’s found someone she can relax and be immature around with Soukichi. As for Soukichi himself, he still puts her on a massive pedestal, but he’s also still working with his editor friend on a new novel… and then gets introduced to an actual editor, in a crossover from another of Nozomi’s light novel series, You Like Me, Not My Daughter?!. Overall, though, the main feeling I got after reading this series was that it was pleasant but also a bit flat. A bit boring. The family bits were good, the Ann stuff felt shoehorned in to make the book the right length. (And it’s not a very long book.)
So yes, if you read the first one, read this one, because it’s okay. That said, the fact that there’s no third volume yet should not devastate too many people.