I actually just went and read the rest of the Suzuka manga and it wasn't horrible, certainly not as bad as the anime. Essentially the arc that the anime covers is probably one of the most annoying arcs of romance cliches I can think of. Love at first sight. Stupid misunderstandings. Crazy things that happened to them in the past that makes them that way. Ridiculous stubbornness. Token third party love interest and really really really annoying characters. It probably wasn't as bad as I'm remembering it now but it's always listed as a 'deep' or 'mature' show when it is anything but. After reading the manga I would rate the anime as worse than true tears or BGI but the manga might be slightly better. Even the ending was totally stolen (although not used as many times I would expect). Let me put it this way the manga might be worth a read if you have nothing else to read/watch but if you only want the anime skip it. I've heard it compared to Kare Kano before and on the surface it does have some similar elements but without any of the depth and several times the amount of angst. It's just an angst series.
I've been getting the nails chalkboard thing you talked about a lot receintly. There is a guy going around on the suggestions forum bashing Kare Kano and suggesting Suzuka. He ends his posts with "i know the good shounen romances bro." I'm trying so hard not to flame him.
Nice to see I'm not alone in the niche of liking Honey and Clover but not so much the Bokura ga Ita/True Tears of the world. Every time I hear someone equating the two as somehow being similar, it's like nails scratching chalkboards.
Unrelated to your current thread but I just saw this and was excited. It looks like a group has finally gotten serious about scanlating Sangatsu No Lion. They've done 3 chapters so far this month! This is Umino Chika's latest work and judging from the first 6 chapters it could end up being just as good as Honey & Clover check it out here. http://www.mangafox.com/manga/sangatsu_no_lion/
I know I had the same reaction, I watched the first episode probably a year ago and didn't come back to the series until a couple of weeks ago. Its all just very well done, and I love the music especially.