Warning: This review contains spoilers for “Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime.” If you have not read the book, do not read this post due to spoilers. However, if you have already read the book or you don’t mind spoilers, feel free to read this!
Once again, here is another book review! This time I’ll be discussing the light novel “Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime” by Mizuki Nomura. Here’s a summary of what the book is about:
“For self-styled “book girl,” third-year high school student Tohko Amano, being the head of the literary club is more than just an extracurricular activity with minor perks. It’s her bread and butter . . . literally! Tohko is actually a literature-gobbling demon, and instead of the less palatable option of water-soaked bread, she opts to munch on torn out pages from all kinds of stories. But for Tohko, the real delicacies are handwritten stories. And to satisfy her gourmet tastes, she’s employed (aka. browbeaten) one Konoha Inoue, an underclassman who has retreated from writing novels after his experiences with getting published at an early age. So day in and day out, Konoha scribbles away to satisfy Tohko’s appetite. But when, one day, another student comes knocking on the literary club door to seek advice on writing love letters, will Tohko discover a new kind of delicacy to whet her voracious appetite?”
Tohko Amano is basically a demon that can literally eat books, as we can tell from the summary. This actually plays out very often in the book, and she even describes the tastes of what Konoha writes for her. However, Tohko has very particular tastes for what she wants to eat, so she often forces Konoha to write up these pieces for her. Konoha Inoue, on the other hand, is an underclassman in highschool who once took on a female pen-name and won a contest with his writing, making him famous. However, he got into a large writing slump since and he’s trying to forget about the past and move on with it. During the scenes that the two get together in the book, it’s very interesting and sometimes amusing to read about Konoha’s attempts to write Tohko something that she can suitably eat (and sometimes the results don’t end up too well).
Chia Takeda was an interesting side character. At first she seemed like one of the lovelorn-schoolgirl type of characters, dreaming of prince charming and such, but the further I read through the novel, the more I realized that Chia was actually a lot darker than I perceived her to be. Her cheerful smiles hide a lot of guilt she holds up against herself about the past and past relationships, and this guilt and sorrow builds up to the point that she attempts suicide. Thankfully, Tohko and Konoha managed to rescue her in time and encourage her to keep living, and although Chia does keep living at the end of the novel, it’s hinted in the report she has to give them (in exchange for Konoha writing love letters for Chia’s love interest so that Chia could get closer with said love interest) that she still feels sad and bitter about the past and that those feelings might linger on for a bit longer. I think this gives a more realistic portrayal of not just heartbreak, but trying to recover from a saddening event, because it wouldn’t have been realistic for Chia to just suddenly be happy and upbeat just after nearly dying by suicide. It will take time to recover from an event like this (as well as what else happened with Chia in the past), and I do hope that Chia comes back in later books in this series (as this is the first book in a series) and that we get to see her develop more and see what ends up happening with her.
There were two major plot twists in the book. The first one was kind of predictable, the other I didn’t expect at all. The first plot twist was that the love interest of Chia Takeda was actually a dead person that used to go to the same school as all the rest of the main characters. How this plot twist was so predictable was the fact that there was far too much probing over who Chia’s love interest actually is far too early on in the story. I feel like the main characters could have waited at least a little bit before trying to pry at who Chia’s love interest was so that the plot twist would not be guessed at too soon. Because they immediately started asking questions about the love interest of Chia, the plot set itself up too early to make the plot twist of her love interest being dead any surprising.
The second plot twist, however, was surrounding the issue of how that deceased love interest of Chia died. I’ll try not to spoil too much, otherwise the story would be ruined, but I’ll give you the hint that it involves a bunch of student alumni that used to go to the school, and that said dead love interest of Chia was actually one of them. And that’s only scratching the surface. The whole actual mystery surrounding the dead guy and his death is actually quite a complex case. But it’s an enjoyable case to read, and it had me scratching my head at times, though once the truth of it really came out I definitely was surprised.
Overall, I would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars because of how interesting the main characters were, and especially as of how well the plot worked to make the mystery in this book so intricate and complex. I only removed the .5 out of 5 due to the predictable first plot twist. If you’re looking for a light novel with a little supernatural flair and mystery, this might be the one for you. I will warn, however, there are themes of suicide in the book, as well as a scene with attempted suicide in the latter half of book (hence the “Suicidal Mime” part stuck onto the title), so if you are sensitive with that material matter you might want to be careful if you do choose to read the book.