13th Boy, Vol. 1
written by SangEun Lee
Fifteen-year-old Hee-So Eun has experienced love at first sight…for the twelfth time. As soon as she laid eyes on Won-Jun Kang, she knew they were meant to be. She did what she had to do to get a special TV show to come to her junior high school just so she could confess her love to Won-Jun.
He went along with it okay, but it doesn’t take long for Won-Jun to break up with Hee-So. He simply doesn’t seem to love her and their relationship lasts less than a month. This is not the first time Hee-So has been dumped by a boy she loved, the twelfth time to be precise, but it hits her as hard as ever --- enough to make her super depressed with only her mutant cactus to console her (good luck with that).
Hee-So is not ready to move on to her thirteenth boyfriend yet, and is determined to reunite with Won-Jun. Her efforts take her into encounters with Won-Jun himself, as well as Won-Jun’s only friend, Whie-Young Jang. Whie-Young is a rather abrasive and immature boy who would sooner mock her than help her, but deep down, he has a bigger heart than he lets on, so he might just have it in him to help the two of them get back together. Despite not loving her, it is clear that Won-Jun cares about her, so with a little help from fate, Hee-So might have a chance after all.
This was my first manhwa (Korean graphic novel), and I could see the difference between this and the average right away, and not just because of the direction in which it is read. The art style is alike in some ways, and certain aspects of the imagery are accentuated, whereas not as much attention is given to some other aspects. The storytelling is well-executed, the plot is fairly easy to get into, and the characters are likable. Readers of many ages would do well to try this series --- teens who have felt the sting of love before can really identify with Hee-So.