Need a suggestion for something to read or watch from the library this weekend? Maybe you'd like to check out an ebook or audiobook? Try some of our Staff Picks, to find what some of the other people in our parish are enjoying.

We know that not every staff pick will appeal to every patron, but not to worry! If you need help selecting something, we have online tools like Book Browse and our Online Catalog, or you can ask one of our friendly staff members to help search for you.

Boys Over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango) by Yoko Kamio

Japanese Anime/Manga is not all violence, or superheroes. A lot of it is much more restrained, and covers a wider variety of audiences. While there are certainly the battle-heavy "shonen" stories such as Naruto or Gundam, there are also stories aimed more at girls - called "shojo" stories. "Shonen" or "shojo" are not genres, but audiences, and within these can be mystery stories, horror stories, battle stories, music idol superstar stories, or even sports & games stories. Or they can be, as today's pick is, romance.

Boys Over Flowers is a fun story of a poor girl, Tsukushi, who is sent by her family to an expensive Elite School so that, they hope, she will seduce a rich boy and lift them out of poverty. She's not so on board with this plan, though, and decides to keep her head down and graduate.

When a friend is bullied by the school gang - called the Flower Four, or F4, this sparks a declaration of war. Tsukushi doesn't do the usual victim thing - she attacks back, targetting the leader of the F4. This so surprises the leader, Tsukasa, that he steps back and actually thinks! Of course, first impressions last, so Tsukushi doesn't want anything to do with Tsukasa, as she's got her eye on another boy. But when that boy leaves to chase the girl he's got his eye on, Tsukuski slowly comes to realize that Tsukasa actually has changed. Her hard working ways and determination slowly changes all of the boys in the gang.

I love this story for the way the characters actually change over time, growing and maturing. I grew up in a time when TV series and comic books essentially reset after each show or each issue. The characters never really grew, never really changed, except in comic books when a new artist or writer took over.

If you like your teen-aged angst served with a helping of art work done with flair and talent. If you like a glimpse of a different culture, without lots of explosions and battles. If you like true romance, with the bad boy being civilized into a good guy, and along the way, the lady learning a thing or two about herself - you just might like Boys Over Flowers

If Boys over Flowers interests you, feel free to request or check it out. We'll be back next Thursday with a different Staff Pick.