What’s in a Name? – Boy Meets Maria by PEYO

As an agender person I couldn’t help how much I related to this story… but let me just start by saying I love Arima and I want to protect him from the world hurting him any more than it already has!

*spoilers ahead*

Taiga wants nothing more than to be the hero in the leading role. But first he needs to learn what it means to be a hero before he can act as one and who better to teach him than someone who aspires for the same. Enter Maria or Yuu Arima, a boy who plays female roles, dances, and makes Taiga fall in love with him at first sight — believing him to be a girl of course. Antics ensue but Taiga learns that Arima is in more pain than he lets on and is in a severe conflict about his own gender.

Honestly, with its sweet cover and its pastel theme, I expected a regular little BL romp, not the somewhat hard-to-swallow rumination on gender, pain, and trauma I was given. Taiga takes a backseat even though he is the lead role. He is simply the window in which we view Arima. Arima suffers PTSD and confusion about his identity thanks to his mother forcing him to be a girl just fulfill her own wants and needs which eventually led to his rape as a child by his teacher. It’s something that has never gone away for him and causes him to panic and faint when his gender is questioned too harshly.

I can’t express how much I loved this little slice of life. Seeing how Taiga worked so hard to be understanding and how he accepts all of Arima including the things he doesn’t accept of himself left a warm feeling in my heart. The way they learn from each other to be better and to overcome the things that block the is such a sugary sweet read despite all of the darkness laced with in it.

I can’t recommend it enough but do beware as there is child sexual assault depicted on pages 120-125.

That being said, I’m very sad that the author has passed away. I plan to look through his published works, but at the same time I would’ve loved to have seen home continue with things like this. I appreciate this man sharing his stories with us right up until his death.

Anyway, definitely pick this one up. It’s a standalone and a very sweet read that I think anyone will get something loving and wholesome out of. The bonus chapters are especially worth it. Thank you for checking out this review of Boy Meets Maria!

-Stay Well-Read-

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