“Fruits Basket” creator Natsuki Takaya’s 2007 series “Twinkle Stars” has a down-to-Earth story though leading lady Sakuya Shiina always has her eyes looking at the night sky.

She and her two friends Hijiri Honjou and Yuuri Murakami are in their third and final year in high school. Things start well until Sakuya’s birthday when Chihiro Aoi, a young man who is a complete mystery to the town arrives unannounced at her home. The two along with Sakuya’s guardian Kanade have a small and quiet celebration. Something about her new acquaintance intrigues the birthday girl even after Chihiro throws her some harsh words during a meeting days later. Everything gets more complicated when he transfers into Sakuya’s class and becoming involved with her Star Appreciation Club. She needs to find a way to get through the shrouds of mystery surrounding her newest classmate in order to wrap up her senior year the best way.

Readers of Takaya’s work might be able to spot some of the similarities between “Fruits Basket” and “Twinkle Stars.” While both are romantic slice-of-life tales packed with drama, “Twinkle Stars” does not need any added magical fantasy to move its story. Sakuya may have portions of “Fruits Basket” main character Tohru Honda’s personality but we learn the dark internal turmoil she bottles inside due to a rocky childhood. Her anxiety and depression are what many other teens and young adults deal with especially when it come to the unseen future. She found the shimmering night sky as her solace and also has a small but tight group of loved ones as support. Sakuya’s problems might be hitting very close to home for some readers, but it is worth seeing how she finds a way through them. It takes more that just a star to form a beautiful constellation.

Fans can find publisher Yen Press two-in-one omnibus volumes at any online or local print vendor. Volume Two hits shelves later in March while Three will be out in July and Four slated for October. For more information, visit Yen Press’s site.

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