Confession time — I love step-sibling romances. The budding feelings, the hidden relationship, the taboo emotions fighting with lust and love — it’s a guilty pleasure of mine. And yet I’ve never read a step-sibling romance where the characters have already broken up.
My Stepmom’s Daughter Is My Ex, written by Kyousuke Kamashiro, and published in English by J-Novel Club, is a unique and incredible romance that turns expectations around.
In middle school, bookworm Mizuto and mystery-nerd Yume begin dating. Their awkward young love flares bright but grows cold quickly, and not even a year later, they’ve broken up and intend to never see each other again.
But the romantic comedy gods are cruel. Not only do Mizuto and Yume end up in the same high school, they are now…well, you guessed it, step-siblings! Their newly-married parents know nothing about their former relationship, and the two step-siblings are desperate keep it that way.
The real highlight of My Stepmom’s Daughter Is My Ex is the near-constant verbal sparring between Mizuto and Yume. Their relationship genuinely feels strained from their failed dating, and their barbed attacks land perfectly because of how well they know each other. Despite trying to claim their former relationship was nothing but the folly of youth, there’s a huge amount of sexual tension between the pair.
I won’t spoil anything, but suffice to say their are some hilariously ecchi scenes with equal amounts young-love-cringe and laugh-out-loud humor. From quibbling over using honorifics, to trying to embarrass the other with increasingly risky “dares,” Mizuto and Yume can’t let the past go.
Each chapter is interpolated over precious dates from the year before. Sometimes these are colored by the “present” characters’ regrets, and presented in a negative light. But throughout the first volume, it becomes clear that regret of a different sort has crept into both our characters, hinting at a potential new future together.
My Stepmom’s Daughter Is My Ex takes a step-sibling relationship in a whole new direction. I smashed through the volume in a day — it’s addictive, sexy, funny, heart-warming, and the best rom-com I’ve read in 2022 so far. Can’t wait for volume 2, and the anime later this year — don’t miss out, this will be a must-watch!!!