Girl Got Game (2004) by Shizuru Seino is a graphic novel published by Tokyopop. The series is completed at 10 volumes and available in the US at the set price of $9.99 (USA) each and rated for Teens +13.
This review is only for the first volume. I’d bought this title a long time ago based on someone else’s recommendation. Girl Got Game turned out to be a surprise hit for me.
Girl Got Game incorporates two themes I like together: romance and sports. How do you feel about stories where someone is forced to pretend to be something that they’re not in order to fullfill someone else’s dream?
Kyo Aizawa is a girl who is looking forward to attending her new high school and trying out the new uniforms for the girl’s basketball team. Seisyu High is home to the top-ranking men’s basketball team and the girls uniforms are stylish enough to be featured in magazines. However, Kyo learns that she is not attending high school as a girl but as a boy.
Kyo’s father was once a great basketball player that is until an injury prevented him from achieving his dream of making the NBA. So, the father decides to live out his dreams through his daughter and Kyo doesn’t like it one bit. Sure, she’s an excellent basketball player and as the title suggests, the “girl got game” but she feels the weight of her father’s expectations and resents it. She justs wants to be herself.
So Kyo is forced to pretend to be a boy and plays the power forward position on the men’s basketball team. She ends up sharing a dorm room with a cute guy name Chiharu Eniwa, who happens to be the best basketball player on the team. The two spar quite often and are rivals on the basketball court.
Once Kyo settles into the dorm and survives many awkward moments of near-misses and near discoveries, she tries to be friends with her moody roommate. Chihauru comes off as being stand offish and rude. His game performance hasn’t been up to par lately either. Come to find out, he recently broke up with his girlfriend. His love for basketball was a deal breaker and you should see what Kyo does to try to get him back on track.
There is much to enjoy in this first volume. I…want to read more. There is plenty of romantic drama, humor, angst to keep you turning the pages quickly. I wish I had the second volume here because it ends in a cliffhanger as per usual. The artwork is nice, action scenes a bit confusing but otherwise, this was a really nice romantic sports drama. Certain parts of the story reminded of Tabitha King’s One On One, which also featured sports as a backdrop. My grade, B+.
This graphic novel is available at Amazon or your local bookstore.