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Stand By Youth: Volume 1    by Young-Bin Kim & Juder Amazon.com order for
Stand By Youth
by Young-Bin Kim
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2007 (2007)
Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

I find a lot of Korean manhwa to be very unrealistic, even the ones that are not fantasies. It surprised me, then, to find such a relatable story in Stand by Youth by Young-Bin Kim and Juder.

Hyungmo Yang is one of the smartest kids in his high school class. However, his smarts couldn't overcome his frustration when he filled in the scantron bubbles wrong on his college entrance exams. Having completely failed his exams, he is forced to go to an exam-prep school for the next year until he can try again. He picks one that guarantees success, but so far, he is not have any luck with school that is. Stuck in the D class, Hyungmo studies constantly to work his way out, but is easily sidetracked by a pretty girl in the A class. When one of his junior high friends joins to study for med school, he sabotages Hyungmo on his first practice test by giving him a girly magazine the night before. Despite these academic setbacks, Hyungmo's love life is looking up as he eventually works up the courage to talk to the pretty girl and even goes on a date with her. By the end of Volume 1, their relationship is just beginning, but Hyungmo's exam woes have become worse than ever.

Stand by Youth is a realistic story because Hyungmo is so likeable. Even though he makes stupid mistakes, the reader still roots for him because he really is a good guy. Also, he is very relatable. While most Americans would never be in his actual situation, almost everyone has bombed a test because of distractions. Plus, the majority of readers will know what it feels like to have a crush on someone but not know how to approach them. The artwork adds to the story nicely by never being too crazy and keeping all the characters realistic. These everyday situations bring out the humor of Hyungmo's plight and make Stand by Youth very readable.

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