***Please note that these are shojo manga I'm talking about. Sorry to all the shounen fans. I'll do a separate post for shounen, promise!
The manga and anime are very similar in content. I stumbled upon this series from a friend who showed me the anime. She owned the anime so I decided to collect the manga. I really like this series for the characters and their relationships with one another. It's a story about two middle school girls who get sucked into a book called The Universe of the Four Gods that brings them back to ancient China and become priestesses of Seiryuu and Suzaku, as they work towards summoning the gods with the help of their celestial warriors. If you couldn't tell by my summary it's a time travel series so I feel if you liked Inuyasha then you'll probably like this series. Fushigi Yugi has a series out for the Genbu priestess and is coming out with a Byakko one, but I can only recommend the original series for now.
This manga is not well known, and very under appreciated. I happened to come across this series by accident. I was in the bookstore looking for a new series to start. I saw the cover of the first volume of Red River and decided to give it a try. I'm so happy I picked this book up. It's another time travel series, but in the Middle East. It's a story about a high school girl who is dragged into the past by an evil sorceress who is in the royal family and is just trying to get back to her time with the help of the prince. The main character for this series, Yuri (or Ishtar as people start calling her), is just a blessing for the people in the time period she fell into and her adventures with Prince Kail is always entertaining. This series has a bit of mature content, but nothing too uncomfortable. I really recommend this series to any who can find it (it's kind of an older series) and who doesn't mind that it's over 20 volumes long.
I remember coming across this manga online. When I finished reading it I was very sad because I wanted more. I told myself if it ever got licensed here in America I was going to buy it, and Viz Media answered my prayers. This story is a bit different from a lot of other romance series because the main characters are of working age, not high school age (which was a bonus for me). The story is about a young lady who is in debt thanks to her father, but she is able to pay off that debt by marrying her company boss. This big plot leap is explained better in the manga but just know it's a very bumpy relationship. This is a great read for those of you looking to step away from the high school romance for a while.
Anything by Rie Takada
Rie Takada is a 90's author who has made some great high school romance manga in my opinion. If I had to recommend manga from her career as an author I would say read Happy Hustle High and/or Wild Act. These are the best works. Takada Sensei makes sure her high school romance stories aren't like a typical high school romance, whether that be adding a crazy main character or using wild plots that have never been used before. She hasn't published anything since 2013, and her last work that got published in America was in 2007. But whether you choose her 90's manga or her works from the 2000's, I'm sure you'll like her stories as much as I do if you like shojo manga.
The BEST high school love triangle manga I've ever read! Peach Girl is one of my absolute favorites (I even got the husband to like it too)! I even have the main character Momo on my list of favorite female anime characters that you can check out here. I'm not going to say anything about the story at all because anything I say I feel will give something away. In my opinion do what I did, just pick up this book and read it. I read this series when my friend just introduced me to manga and was handing me all of her books. Peach Girl was one of them. When I finished reading I had to buy my own copies because I wanted to keep reading it over and over again. I forgot where I read this piece of news from but I heard that there's going to be another sequel to this series after 10 years. I'm so excited!
This series became so popular, and I don't even understand how it happened. The manga got turned into three different Asian dramas: Taiwanese, Korean, and Japanese drama. No anime sadly, but that's what actually made me discover all the dramas. First let me start out by saying if you are looking for a gender-bend high school romance manga then you need to read this series. It's long, but so good. It's about a girl who dresses as a guy so she can go to an all male high school where she can be close to her high-jump idol. The story gets really crazy good, trust me. When I finished reading this story I looked it up online to see if there was an anime because I didn't want it to end. Upon my search I came across the Taiwanese drama first which in my opinion was the best version (sorry Japan). I've watched all the drama renditions and can confidently recommend both manga and Asian dramas.
An honorable mention:
Anything by Arina Tanemura
Not only is Tanemura Sensei a great author but a great person, as she has sold some of her work for a charity for the March 2011 Earthquake/Tsunami. Some of her popular works that I recommend everybody read are Full Moon, The Gentleman's Alliance Cross and Phantom Thief Jeanne. For those of you going to read Full Moon, prepare for tears. That's something Tanemura Sensei is good at, making people cry because they care so much about the characters. Please give this author a shot as she makes great manga.
Thank you for reading this blog post of mine! I'm really happy to share my love of manga with you all. Thank you to the person who suggested this topic (you know who you are). I hope that some of you can discover new manga to read or can gush on some that you've already read that made it on this list. There are plenty more awesome manga out there, but please remember I was only sharing ones that I've read more than 20 times which to me means they must be really good.