Over the last few years, WEBTOON has become increasingly popular with its wide variety of comics. The short episodic format is great for readers who want to immerse themselves in a story yet don't have time to dedicate to something longer like a novel.
Being in this boat recently, I decided to look around on the app. I found a wholesome, cozy romance WEBTOON called Crumbs that is perfect for a quick, lighthearted read—especially with Valentine's Day approaching. It's a completed two-season story, so I binged the entire thing. Keep reading for a review, but beware minor spoilers (or skip to the end for a spoiler-free mini-review)!
Category: Cozy Read
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RATING: 4.5/5 Stars
Plot: 4/5 stars
Characters: 5/5 stars
World: 5/5 stars
In a very special town, there's a very unusual bakery where the house specialty is a selection of baked treats hand-crafted to help you make your dreams come true—whether you need inspiration, support, or confidence, they've got a cake or muffin fresh-made with magic to meet your needs. But for Ray, a quiet young woman with special powers of her own, the order is always the same: a hot tea with a delicious side of romance.
When I read the synopsis for this WEBTOON, I was immediately hooked; a witchy bakery serving magical drinks and pastries sounds like a dream. The further I progressed through the story, the more boxes Crumbs checked for me. The concept is adorable; the story has a warm, magical atmosphere; the main character and her love interest are cinnamon rolls; and the author/artist (Danie Stirling) portrays healthy platonic and romantic relationships. What's not to love?
When Ray makes her weekly pilgrimage to Marigold's Bakery only to find they've sold out of her usual, she's disappointed. Little does she know, she's about to get more romance than she would've ordered.
Laurie, the bakery owner's nephew, has noticed Ray between her routine visits and a few casual conversations. Seeing her disappointment, Laurie offers a solution.
Ray accepts and goes to the performance, where she is immediately introduced to Laurie's group of friends. She is warmly welcomed and quickly becomes part of the crew. As she and Laurie spend more time together, they learn of each others dreams—Ray has worked her whole life toward becoming a member of the magic Council, while Laurie has always aspired to be a famed musician. Over the course of the story, we watch the two struggle to meet their goals, especially when reality doesn't live up to the fantasy. Seeing the two support each other—even when their dreams could tear them apart—is such a wholesome journey.
Stirling creates a story with beautiful messages on contentment, communication, selflessness versus people-pleasing, and being true to oneself; themes that are important, especially for young readers.
Ray and Laurie are two cinnamon roll characters whose shyness and insecurity make me want to wrap them up and protect them at all costs. Their innocent romance is cute as hell and refreshing in its healthy portrayal.
Ray (despite being quiet and never having a boyfriend until now) has great boundaries and does an excellent job of enforcing them. She politely confronts Laurie when he makes a mistake, isn't afraid to say "no" and hold her ground, and takes time to herself when she needs it. She is also aware of boundaries she shouldn't cross. As a Seer, she has access to more information than others; yet unlike some who would abuse these powers, Ray is careful to not intrude on anyone's privacy by seeing into their lives, accidentally or otherwise.
Laurie is a bit of a people-pleaser and fixer with a longer relationship history than Ray. Needless to say, he has more to work on than she does. Lucky for Laurie, Ray is forgiving, and he has a great group of friends who gently inform him on opportunities for growth and encourage him to be authentic.
Other aspects worth mentioning are the ways in which Stirling uses their story to represent marginalized folks. There are characters of all body types, colors, and sexual orientations. What's more, everyone is treated with respect.
I also really loved two of the side characters: Stella and Wobble, the sentient AI's/OS's who run Ray and Laurie's phones. Their personalities and quirks are downright delightful, adding humor and warmth to the story.
Lastly, there's Laurie's ex-girlfriend Sian, who despite their history remains a close friend. Normally, exes are portrayed as rivals to the new significant other, yet this isn't the case with Crumbs. When Ray comes into the picture, Sian is nothing short of welcoming. The two girls end up friends; they text and meet up for dinner, and even swap relationship advice. It's so refreshing to see this dynamic rather than having Sian be a point of conflict.
Stirling's unique combination of fantasy and modern culture is captivating. Between the magic of Marigold's Bakery, sentient phones, fly-thru lanes for commuters on brooms, and a mysterious Council, Crumbs has an enchanting atmosphere that I loved losing myself in. Oh, and some of the episodes are accompanied by sweet melodies to help the reader more fully immerse themselves!
Crumbs by Danie Stirling is an adorable, atmospheric, wholesome story full of magic and important lessons. The healthy relationships and representation of POC and LGBT+ members makes it a refreshing modern story. I would highly recommend this WEBTOON to anyone in the mood for a light-hearted romance. My only complaint is that it isn't longer; while it wraps up nicely, there are plot points that Stirling could have used to develop a longer, more complex story. But what we are given in this 55-episode WEBTOON is absolutely beautiful, visually and otherwise.
If Crumbs sounds like something you’d enjoy, read the WEBTOON or preorder a print edition at your favorite book retailer!