Sand Chronicles 3 by Hinako Ashihara: B+

From the back cover:
Sweet 16-year-old Ann returns to rural Shimane from Tokyo for the summer, eager to reconnect with her boyfriend Daigo. But will the allure of their close friends—wealthy brother and sister Fuji and Shika—sunder the romantic ties that have bound Ann and Daigo since they were 12?

I didn’t like this volume quite as much as the first two because it was missing that special feeling of nostalgia. Instead, it focused mostly on relationship and family angst, which was entertaining in its way, but didn’t elicit the bittersweet vibe that usually elevates this title above its fellows.

There was more focus on the Tsukishima siblings in this volume, which was welcome, as both of them separately tried to break free of the stifling mold their family has imposed upon them. Ann and Daigo begin by being worried about the Tsukushima in their town, but it’s probably only a matter of time until things escalate. I’m not really looking forward to that happening, since it will cause so much pain all around, but it will undoubtedly be interesting.

I’m also looking forward to farther down the line chronologically; will the series depict Ann in her early twenties, and follow right up to where she is as the story begins? That would be really neat.

Although these chapters here were not the best, the cliffhanger ending was pretty cool and I’m definitely looking forward to volume 4.

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