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Fever: Volume 1    by Hee Jung Park order for
by Hee Jung Park
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Hee Jung Park's Fever is a rather strange manhwa. The storyline is difficult to follow, yet the dramatic atmosphere leaps off the page, causing me to have very mixed feelings about the first volume.

Stuck at a high school that does not seem to value its students, Hyung-In Kim starts to have trouble coping after her friend commits suicide because of bullying. One day, she loses it and stabs a fellow classmate with a pencil. Hyung-In decides that school is not for her, but her affluent family cannot accept this. On her way home, she meets Kang-Dae who invites her to a special place called Fever. A little later, totally fed up with her family, she decides to find Kang-Dae and Fever. Also taking refuge at Fever is Ji-Jun, an orphan whose loneliness invited wild tendencies.

Fever is a little hard to follow because Park starts off with Hyung-In's story, but half way through, stops and tells Ji-Jun's story, before going back to Hyung-In. Also, not until the end of the volume and the description of volume two is it clear what exactly Fever is, which also hurts the flow of the storyline.

However, no matter which character the narrative is following and despite the reader's confusion about Fever, Park has a way, through her words and art, to make readers feel the same despair that the characters do. This is not some sappy teen drama graphic novel, but a gritty, realistic tale (though a little more realistic for students in Korea than America, I imagine) that is full of emotions to which teenagers can relate. I am hoping that - since by the end of this volume all three characters have come together - subsequent volumes of Hee Jung Park's Fever might be a little easier to follow.

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