Regular / In which Mitchii recommends one of her favorites: Cheese in the Trap by Soon Kki
On Spotlight: A special post where I feature some of my favorite reads! Apart from my occasional “great rec post!” I’m also keen on giving full or in-depth post on series: may it graphic novels or in the future books that I truly loved. And perhaps you might pick this up and read it, too!

I’m gonna start this rec post with a confession—it took me five tries before the enjoyment sink in. I tried the first but didn’t like it. The second went the same, and so were the third and fourth. The fifth try I decided to jump to chapter 15, yeah no kidding. This is how I roll, if the series I adamantly like to try and didn’t go well, I skip hella lot of chapters. I’m quite good at patching things up so if I missed details I’ll probably pick it up in the middle of the story arc, and oh boy did it finally work! Don’t worry I read it the third time already so the chapters I missed, well, I know them all too well this time. And yep, I reread it twice already which evidently meant I freaking fell in love with it!

The second paragraph I always save for summary but for this month’s edition, I’m just gonna give you the gist, 치즈인더트랩 (Cheese in the Trap) by 순끼 (Soon Kki) is about Hong Seol, an ordinary college student who in its four season run we as readers witnessed the ups and downs of her college life, her personal life, her of course, love life, and something in between. There’s no fancy schmancy start-up and I dig all those realistic flares Soon Kki focused on. Don’t expect shoujo manga clichés here, that’s not how it grooves. It’s different; it was a breath of fresh air how fixated it was to its character inner struggles.

치즈인더트랩 S3, Vol.7
치즈인더트랩 S3, Vol.7

Yes, it’s very (VERY) character driven story. I think it’s safe to say that I haven’t read anything like Cheese in the Trap out of bajillion of literature I consumed in the past decade. And that was pretty cool. There were so many instances that it honestly mirrored my college life (sans the love life, oh poor me!!!) So the connection was there and it made all too easy to get absorbed in (after the rocky start). I really can’t explain how Cheese in the Trap is because I honestly found the premise to be just ordinary. It was plain but magnificently and organically executed. The heroine Hong Seol is a lady you can find anywhere, hard worker, with some family issues she dealt with. It so ordinary but that made it genius! In some ways she was like me. There was this incident that she was so like me, like, when Seol removed a group-mate from their group because he didn’t do his part! That’s me, I was Seol—it’s funny how exact it was! I freaking removed the person who didn’t participate to our group work! The nerve of that person to get sympathy out of my classmates! But I stand my ground explained to our professor how things went and it proved that my decision was right all along. In some ways, I was laughing and cheering on Seol— a demonstration on how I can closely I relate to Seol on academic issues she experienced.

타인과 서로의
차이를 인정하고
간극을 줄이는 것은한 사람이 아닌
두 사람 모두의
노력이 필요한 힘든 일임을
나는 숱한 경험을
통하여 알고 있다.
— Seol Seol (치즈인더트랩, Season 4, Chapter 76)
* English Translation: Recognizing each other’s differences reduces the gap. So one person can’t do it alone; it’s a hard work that requires both people. I learned it through my experiences.

Now let’s go the love life of hers—where the similarities unfortunately end (I don’t have an Inho and Jung…what a sad life…) because every time I rec this series I was always asked about the romance. Romance is there but it isn’t shoujo type. I liked it. There’s a love triangle but it wasn’t actively played. In the very beginning the author solidified who Seol will end up with. And unlike those shoujo mangas I read where the heroine goes ga-ga too fast for comfort to their love interest, Seol wasn’t like that. Sure she was interested on him, but for me it went slow. Even if Seol and Yoo Jung was an item, there many instances Seol questioned Jung motives and reasons. She didn’t completely trust him on the get-go, given the start and history they have prior to dating.

치즈인더트랩 S3, Vol.4
치즈인더트랩 S3, Vol.4

My favorite character was Baek In-Ho, he fell in love with Seol but he never had a chance, and for some reason I love that Soon Kki decided to tackle their relationship as best friends and family! Sure it was romantic for Inho but those moments they shared together were precious to me. Did I ship them? Yep, but my shipping game here wasn’t as active like in the other series because in all honesty, I found Inho’s character not another option for Seol—he’s more, they had a solid bond, that solely his and Seol. That said, Inho to be quite honest had more importance to Jung’s development rather than Seol. In the end, the way the relationship between these three unfolded was frankly reasonable given each person’s circumstances.

Cheese in the Trap had already ended this month! I found the ending to be a little…lacking. I’m not asking for cliché wedding, future or whatves. I just felt like I needed more Jung exposition but since the author managed, at the last minute, to tie loose ends in an untypical way made this series very memorable! I recommend it but I’m always discreet about it especially those who thinks it’s another K-drama love fluff, nope, this ain’t it. Soon Kki put so much effort into these characters to pass off just as fluff, it’s more than that and that ‘more than that’ is something you should all find out by yourselves!

Note: I’m no way affiliated with anyone from the series I rec! I just love them so I spread the word on my own volition! English translation provided by me, it’s very awkward I know. Please support your fave series! Banner feature by freepik!)