Venus in Love 2 by Yuki Nakaji: B+

From the back cover:
Fukami is convinced that there’s chemistry between his friends Suzuna and Eichi, who just need a little push to become a couple. Little does he suspect that they both have a crush on him. But Fukami’s got his own romantic distraction with a girl he keeps running into. When Suzuna realizes that she has a new rival, she’s going to have to act fast. Can she build up the nerve to tell him how she really feels?

The main plot threading through this volume is that Fukami has a possible love interest, and it’s neither Suzuna nor Eichi. Her name is Honoka, and while she’s not terribly interesting herself so far, like the Mei character in the latest volume of Ouran, she’s a catalyst for Eichi and Suzuna to figure out what to do about their feelings for Fukami.

Aside from this, the volume is a little random. There’s a tennis camp, a visit from Eichi’s younger brother (In shoujo manga, they’re always sent by a parent because the older sibling doesn’t visit sufficiently.), a school festival, and a fashion show. It’s all an enjoyable read and the characters are likable, but I don’t find it as emotionally compelling as, say, Love*Com. I think the issue is that we don’t really get inside the heads of any of the characters, plus it doesn’t seem like Suzuna seriously loves Fukami. She just thinks he’s dreamy.

As a final note, the art continues to confuse me a bit. Facially, the new character Honoka looks just like Suzuna, unless I’m missing some subtle distinction.

Despite these few critical comments, I do like the series and plan to continue with it.

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