My local library just got in a few new manga titles, so I had to check them out. I started reading manga in earnest in 2008, when I gave myself the challenge of reading 100 volumes to learn about it - before that I had only read Fruits Basket, a series which remains a favorite.
Mixed Vegetables by Ayumi Komura introduces us to Hanayu Ashitaba, a high school student who is focusing on culinary arts. She's the daughter of a baker, but what she really wants to do is become a sushi chef. Her master plan: to marry the only son of the sushi shop owner so that she can inherit that business instead. This is a humorous, light story that incorporates the more serious theme of balancing your parents' expectations with your own desires, something most high school students can relate to. The line drawings of food are guaranteed to make you hungry.
Sand Chronicles by Hinako Ashihara focuses on Ann Uekusa, a girl whose parents divorce and whose mother moves from Tokyo to the small town where she grew up. At first, Ann is unsure about the people who disconcertingly seem to know all about her, but when family tragedy strikes, she depends on her friends to get her through. Each chapter is a different season in her life, starting from when she was twelve. In volume 3 (as far as I've read), it's up to the autumn she's 16. The drama inherent in high school friendship makes this have a more serious tone and older audience than Mixed Vegetables, but between the two I like this one better so far.
Both are entertaining reads, however, and I'm planning on reading more in both series as I can.