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Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers' Favorite
In Aisuru from debut author Anma Natsu, we are introduced to a world that includes romance and fantasy, sadness and happiness, love and illness. The protagonist, Sakura, is a lovely Japanese high schooler. She hasn't had an easy life, in fact, her father's mental illness when she was a child led to her suffering very severe physical and emotional injuries. When her suffering was at its worst, her guardian would tell her stories from his childhood, stories of a friend of his that was a magical 'yokai' from another realm, stories that Sakura had always assumed were nothing more than fairy tales. But when her kind guardian dies, and Sakura also finds out that she won't live past her 18th birthday due to the injuries she had sustained as a child, she finds out in a most surprising way that the stories were not fairy tales. Not only is the 'yokai' real, his name is Kazuki, and Sakura soon finds herself in love with him. But what can their love bring but heartbreak?
Aisuru is a beautiful book, both in terms of the storyline and its appearance. Author Anma Natsu depicts both the culture and the environment of Japan in such realistic detail that you'll feel that you're actually there. Her skills at developing characters, especially characters that a young adult reader will be able to connect with, are extremely strong. And the romance aspect of Aisuru is emotional, heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. Any young adult reader who likes romantic adventures would love this book. Author Anma Natsu is a very promising new author in this genre, and I will be watching for more work from her in the future.