Author: Kyle Green
Artist: Studio Kosaru
Rating: Teen (16+)
Synopsis: “The gorgeous surfer Shawn needs to pass Marine Biology or else he’ll flunk out of college. Luckily for him, the cute nerd Alan is dying to learn how to surf. The two are brought into each others’ worlds and romantic sparks fly. It seems like a dream for Alan until Shawn’s former boyfriend Clay gives him a harsh reality check. “
One of Yaoi Press’s most notable artist teams, Studio Kosaru, takes a break from their popular online comic to bring us Kyle Green’s story of mix-matched lovers, set on sandy beaches and foamy surfs. A cute premise and eye-catching artwork makes story and art flow seamlessly together in this touching culture-clash love story.
The story begins with Alan, a young intelligent boy taking time from studying to watch some surfers doing what they do best. Catching his eye is Shawn, the attractive and talented surfer. Moments after, Shawn approaches Alan with a request and soon a deal is made; Alan will tutor Shawn in return for surfing lessons.
Alan’s attraction for the athletic Shawn is apparent from the beginning as the two quickly begin swapping their knowledge and experience, among other things. Acknowledging the growing bond with bitterness is Clay, Shawn’s former boyfriend. He, of little kindness in his heart, informs Alan that Shawn is merely using him and will toss him when finished. Coupled with a lack of self-esteem, this is enough to send Alan running, all his fears seemingly confirmed. It’s moments like these that bring drama to this simple love story and remind us these two have more than the ocean to learn about.
Nothing in the story is too complicated and no characters are given spotlights past Alan, Shawn & Clay. This helps to keep the story simple and linear from start to finish. The three personalities contrast each other well and through time and trials are all brought to their respective conclusions in the end. Though the short length is one of the story’s few downfalls, all loose ends are tied so neatly that you don’t feel as though you miss anything.
The artwork is a step up in quality from previous works, with clean, solid line art and good use of screen toning. The layouts are easy to follow and well divided. All characters remain consistent from start to finish. Notable is the character Alan, whose large anime-eyes are rendered near-perfect, never seeming out of place on his boyish face. The cover image is bright and colourful and suits the mood of the story, in particular with the addition of Clay in the background. Several black and white splash pictures are thrown in for a little bit of extra eye candy.
Overall, this story is a pleasant, lighthearted read. Short and to point of plot and relationship with nothing unnecessary to take away from the cute coupling of this unlikely pair.
In addition to the main story, there is an added side story about Alan and Shawn by another artist. It’s a small glimpse into the couple’s future amidst fellow college students. Beautifully drawn, it’s a fun chance to see the characters rendered by someone else and makes for a wonderful little add-on.
Extra: There are also two short unrelated stories added to the back of the book to extend the length of the final product, bringing the page count up to 152.