Monday, August 6, 2012

Boys Over Flowers

Bibliographic Information: Yoko, K.  (2003).  Boys over flowers (Hana yori dango), vol. 1.  San Francisco: Viz Media

Plot Summary: Makino Tsukushi has been given the opportunity to enroll in a high school for the elite, Eitoku Academy. Her parents refuse to let her pass up the chance, because they believe that it will change her life. Tsukushi is extremely nervous because she knows that she will be surrounded by the sons and daughters of CEO's and wealthy businessmen; while she comes from a low middle class working family.

Upon arriving at the academy,Tsukushi immediately learns that the entire academy is run by the whims of a very wealthy group that calls themselves the F4 for the " the Flowery Four." The F4 rule the halls of Eitoku Academy by both bullying and charming their fellow peers. All the students live in fear of the F4, knowing that crossing them means being "red carded" and ostracized by the entire student body. Tsukushi learns this the hard way when she makes the choice to stand up for her friend, Yuuki Matsuoka, who has accidentally offended the leader of the F4, Tsukasa Domyoji. Tsukushi, unlike others, refuses to back down to Tsukasa and immediately finds herself amidst of a battle. In the midst of all the struggle,Tsukushi finds herself unexpectedly attracted to Rui Hanazawa, the kindest of the F4, while Tsukasa begins to take a strange interest in Tsukushi. Tsukushi realizes that she must learn her way around Eitoku Academy or risk losing her way and disappointing her family!

Critical Evaluation: Through Makino Tsukushi point of view in
Boys Over Flowers, the reader can see a look into class issues of Japanese society. Tsukushi's narration, coupled with the elite setting, draws a sharp picture of what it means to be middle to low class in a world of extremly wealthy characters. Tsukushi is constantly reminded that she is not good enough because she both holds a job and can't afford to purchase a new Louis Vuitton bag each weekend. Tsukushi is also ridiculed for helping to take the trash out and is even called "middle class trash" when she chooses to stand up for her friend. It is this moment of rebellion that sets the tone for the rest of the novel and essentially forces Tsukushi into the role of the outsider. Tsukushi's refusal to be ashamed and her adoption of the nickname "the weed" (in reference to her being a weed among the "flowers" or F4) transforms her into a dangerous free radical that wont be silenced or pressured into "knowing her place." Tsukushi is constantly encouraged to want to be more, to be impressed with the materialistic aspect of wealth, and to strip herself of everything that makes her middle class. Most interestingly yet, is Tsukasa's attempt to buy Tsukushi over when he finds that he cannot squash her spirit. Tsukushi becomes a symbol of the honest and sincere middle to working class that will not be forced into changing who they are in order to please the whims of the rich.

Reader’s Annotation:
Tsukushi stands up for what is right, no matter the consequences.

Information About the Author: Yoko Kamio, born on June 29, 1966 is best known for Hana Yori Dango, or Boys over Flowers (, 2012). Boys over Flowers broke records by becoming the best selling shojo manga series in Japan, it sold over 35 million copies (, 2012). Boys over Flowers even won a Shogakukan comic Award in 1996. Boys over Flowers was even made into a succesful Korean television series which has been featured on Hulu. 

Yoko Kamio has also written Mamade Matteiru (Waiting Until 20), Suki Suki Daisuki (I Really, Really Like You), and Mary-San No Hitsuji (Mary's Lamb) (, 2012). 

Boys Over Flowers Korean Series Trailer

Graphic Novel, Romance

Humorous Romance, Japanese Manga
Curriculum Ties: N/A

Booktalking Ideas:

1) Why does Tsukasa change his opinion about Tsukushi?
2). Should Tsukushi be impressed by the F4's wealth and power?

Reading Level/Interest Age: Rated T (for Teen) (, 2012)

Challenge Issues: Some themes of rape and violence. I would use the following items to defend this graphic novel if it was challenged:

1) Refer to Library Bill of Rights, see items: I, II, and III (
2) Refer to San Diego Public Library collection policy - (  Original site: The American Library Association (ALA) Freedom to Read/View Statement (
3) Refer to California School Library Association (CSLA), Model School Library Standards - September 2010 ( PDF: (
4) Refer t0 American Association for School, Librarians Standards for the 21st Century Learner (
5) Contact Office of Intellectual Freedom for any further support, 800-545-2433, ext. 4223 or
6) Refer to legitimate book reviews, such as: School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book and others; found on either Academic Search Premier, Follett's TITLEWAVE, or

Why did you include this book in the titles you selected?:
I included this item in my collection as a representation of the very popular genre of graphic novels, manga. Boys Over Flowers is a very humorous story that features the musings of a high school girl that is trying hard to make her way in a new environment. Many teens will be able to empathize with Tsukushi as deals with the every day struggles and drama of high school.

Reference Page:  (2012). Yoko Kamio bio.  Retrieved August 6, 2012 from  (2012).  Products: Boys over flowers, vol. 1.  Retrieved August 6, 2012 from

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