Nineteen, Twenty-One by Hye Jin Kim, Na Che, Han Yu: review

Nineteen, Twenty-One by Hye Jin Kim (Art), Na Che (Art), Han Yu (Story)

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Romance, Slice-of-Life, Shojo

Release Date: 2010

Synopsis: Yun-lee is a girl who is carrying a huge emotional scar in her heart. Due to an accident, she lost 2 precious years of her life, the time period between 19 and 21 years old. Her life is empty. She is miserable, but still attending a preparatory school in an attempt to catch up with all the time she has lost. Suddenly, one day on her way to feed some stray cats, she comes across a young man who seems to have what she has lost… the period between 19 and 21 years old.

My thoughts: Nineteen, Twenty-One is a beautiful story. This was my first manhwa (a Korean comic) and I am glad that I had such a great introduction to manhwa. Nineteen, Twenty-One is not licensed in english yet but you can still read fan translations here. With a sweet story by “John” and the gorgeous art by “Jenny” this manhwa is most certainly worth the read. Everyone will be able to find something they like in Nineteen, Twenty-One.

Yun-lee is a girl who has experienced a terrible car crash, leaving her in a coma for a year. She is almost twenty-one now and she has lost a whole year of life. She has missed out on the days where one can be a child and carefree. Now she is an adult. People her age are unfamiliar to her and she can’t connect with them. Yun-lee is absolutely miserable. But there is something that she finds solace in. Cats. She loves them. She uses the money she needs to buy lunch in order to feed them cat food everyday.

One day Yun-lee comes meets a nineteen year-old boy named Ju Dong-hwi who also has a love for cats. Yun-lee thinks he is a bit weird but becomes good friends with him. Dong-hwi helps her feel like she is living the year that she has missed.

Nineteen, Twenty-One is not just a love story but a story about two people finding their places and what they want in life. This manhwa is full of meaning and even the cats are a metaphor. That isn’t to say that Nineteen, Twenty-One is not a cute love story though. The interactions between Yun-lee (a.k.a. Nuna) and Dong-hwi were always sweet and rather humourous at times. Their different personalities contrast greatly. Yun-lee is very quiet and a little bit shy awhile Dong-hwi is loud and childish but this only enhances my enjoyment of their interactions. A lot of them made me smile and some of them just made me LOL.

There are also many lessons in this story. Try to understanding your enemies, have compassion for others, help out when you are needed, and other important things. The messages aren’t blatantly thrown at you but rather told in a very subtle way. This manhwa requires the reader to pay attention to the way the characters act in order to see the messages.

I will also say that I think that this manhwa would be perfect for cat lovers or just regular pet lovers. There are a lot of cats. And even though they are a metaphor in this story they are still really, really, really cute.

I really loved Nineteen, Twenty-One and I believe it would be loved not just by pet-lovers but by many other people. It’s a really fun, cute read and I can’t recommend this enough!

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15 thoughts on “Nineteen, Twenty-One by Hye Jin Kim, Na Che, Han Yu: review

  1. Cute. I immediately realized that this is a manhwa, especially after reading the cover artist and writer. I haven’t read any of its kind, but my Korean friends always ask me to read Korean comics (in Korean language) so I sometimes have an idea. I think it functions the same as Japanese manga, though my biased self says that manhwa are cuter and more intense.

    • From the manhwa that I have seen they do seem to be more serious (but still managing to be cute). Nineteen, Twenty-One is of a much high quality than most shojo manga that I have read. And yes they do function the same except this manhwa read from left to right although I don’t know if this is the case with all manhwa 🙂
      I think that Bride of the Water God is a manhwa too so I will probably try that one next.

  2. I haven’t read any manga in the longest time, but your reviews make me want to pick them up again! Especially your reviews about shojo and slice-of-life books, those always were my favorite. Anyway, great review, love that this book had not only a meaningful story but lessons about life as well.

    • Shojo manga are seriously cute with all the big eyes and sparkles and such 🙂 Although it is hard to find shojo manga that are really meaningful–and Nineteen, Twenty-One is a manhwa so I don’t know if it counts or not 😛
      I haven’t read all of Fruits Basket but that is one of the most largely known gateway manga there is. Super cute and meaningful(although it starts getting super depressing when the reader starts finding out more about the characters which was why I needed a break).

  3. Pingback: February In Review | book adoration

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