Given, Vol. 2 by Natsuki Kizu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sometimes a song can save your life.
Love of music unites the four members of the band Given: hotheaded guitarist Uenoyama, playboy drummer Akihiko, gentle bassist Haruki, and Mafuyu, a singer gifted with great talent and burdened by past tragedy. Their struggles and conflicts may drive them apart, but their bond to the music—and to each other—always brings them back together again.
As the band races toward their first live concert, Mafuyu struggles to write lyrics for their new song, unable to find words that express the emotions burning within him. Meanwhile, Uenoyama hears rumors about Mafuyu’s past and is bewildered by his own feelings. The tension builds until the night of the show when the band gives a raging, life-changing performance.
Warnings: mentions of suicide, grief and guilt, depression
With the volume opening on Akihiko’s story and the introduction of Ugetsu, who he lives with and who he loves/d?, you know this one is going to be about the pain of love. Uenoyama is still panicking over his feelings for Mafuyu, and while he tries to kinda bully him into writing the lyrics for their upcoming show, his own performance is suffering. Haruki, the resident mom friend of the group tries to smooth tensions, but it is Akihiko taking Uenoyama aside and talking to him that helps the most. Also, he gets the latter to accept his feelings for Mafuyu and dispels his internalized homophobia in such a good way? Considering Uenoyama looks up to both Akihiko and Haruki, alleviating his worries by talking to him and letting him know there’s nothing wrong with him was sweet. Meanwhile, Mafuyu is struggling to put into words his feelings for his ex, and the guilt and grief he has been holding onto since then. He gets to process those feelings through the band, and work on moving forward, mending his old friendships and being hopeful about his new ones. It was, overall, heartening and heartbreaking in equal measures.
Is it diverse? queer main characters; gay romance
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Viz Media LLC, via Edelweiss.
Previous books in the Given series
Releases on May 12, 2020
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