Very! Very! Sweet 4 by JiSang Shin and Geo: B

veryverysweet4From the back cover:
Tsuyoshi and Be-Ri’s charade has Grandfather convinced, but it’s just a bit too convincing for Erica and Mu-Hyuk. Forming a coalition of their own, the pair is determined to prevent Tsuyoshi and Be-Ri from becoming anything more than business partners. Meanwhile, Gyu-Ri and San-Ne are on the rocks as Gyu-Ri’s unfaithfulness becomes increasingly apparent. Be-Ri watches their relationship crumble before her eyes, her heart filled with concern for the suffering San-Ne. It could be an opportunity to make her move, but as much as she cares for him, does she really want her true feelings out in the open at a time like this?

In order to appease Tsuyoshi’s visiting grandfather, Tsuyoshi is pretending that he’s found a nice Korean girlfriend in Be-Ri. The two parties concerned see this as a business partnership (he’s promised her a swanky cat tower for her cooperation), but their respective stalkers (Erica and Mu-Hyuk) are determined not to allow them any alone time together. Their plan backfires, however, because Tsuyoshi and Be-Ri happen to be neighbors and when Tsuyoshi’s beloved cat accidentally eats a hanging decoration and must be rushed to the vet, it’s Be-Ri that he turns to for help. Later, amidst some family drama concerning Be-Ri’s sister and her boyfriend, the two run into each other again while taking out the trash and Tsuyoshi refuses to leave her alone to cry.

The moments between the two leads are my favorites in this volume, and are good enough that I nearly forget how much I dislike Erica. Thankfully, Tsuyoshi seems to agree with me, because he tells her they should end things for good. If only I could believe she’d just give up and go home. Some of the subplots that have been percolating near the surface also get a lot of attention in this volume. Be-Ri’s sister, Gyu-Ri, has been attracted to Tsuyoshi’s uncle, Ito, ever since his arrival. Lately, she’s been hanging out with him and making cryptic remarks to her boyfriend, San-Ne, about how one’s feelings can change imperceptibly. Their conversations are fascinating, and after Gyu-Ri consoles a drunken Ito, who has just learned some (unfortunately confusing) family secrets, Be-Ri encounters a drunken San-Ne, who is heartbroken and tries to put the moves on her, admitting that he’s known about her feelings for him all along and making her feel like a fool. All of this makes for a lot of awesome drama!

If only Erica were gone, the family secrets made more sense, and Be-Ri’s argumentative grandmother hadn’t shown up, I would’ve given this volume a higher grade. I really like the chemistry between Be-Ri and Tsuyoshi, especially how they’re forming a friendship before anything else. Too, this story stands out because of its portrayal of the perils of cat ownership. Previously feline leukemia has been discussed and we’ve seen Be-Ri scooping the litter box. This time it’s about kitty’s inability to resist the temptation of tasty-looking inanimate objects. As someone who once rushed a cat to the vet for eating a wad of tape, this situation definitely rings true. Plus, how could I dislike a boy who cries when his beloved pet is in pain? It’s impossible, I tell you.

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