Review: Just Friends by Ana Oncina
February 13, 2023
It’s your turn, GL fans! I’ve had a handful of you ask about Just Friends and we’re ready to share our take!
From the back of the book: “During one summer in her teens, Erika’s mother pressured her into going to a local overnight camp. Despite her reservations, Erika ended up meeting a girl named Emi… and Emi didn’t let Erika’s anti-social front prevent them from forming a special bond. Now in their 30s, Erika and Emi reminisce about that fateful summer and consider what could have been.”
This story is excellent. For a one shot it is surprisingly well-rounded and the story telling is fantastic. Watching Erika and Emi learn about themselves and each other while also navigating the quintessential teenager summer camp experience is so deeply relatable (even if you never went to summer camp). Seeing how they stumble over small issues, grapple with insecurities and confusion, but find themselves bonded for life after a single shared experience is sure to bring back memories for a lot of readers.
While on its face Just Friends seems like it’s probably a fluffy GL it also has its own variety of grit to it. Seeing Erika and Emi’s story through the lens of their adult selves meeting up after years apart lends a different, bittersweet air to everything you learn about them. What you see feels so much more like reality than your typical manga and I’m just left impressed with the humanity infused into this story.
Ana Oncina’s art is lovely and fits so well with the vibe of the story. As a 13+ story there’s no need to be overly concerned about content. Overall, it’s definitely one I would highly recommend. It’s an easy, casual read, but impactful and interesting. To me, it felt like a realistic romance about those people and places in youth that are pivotal but not permanent. It might just leave you with a teensy bit of heartache… the good kind.
Ready to read? Grab your copy HERE
An absolutely beautiful and heartwarming GL
Publisher: Tokyopop/Love x Love
Age Rating: 13+
Page Count: 224
Release Date: 2/14/2023
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