I’ve read things with odd premises before, but the Book Girl series is near the top of the list.
The titular “book girl” (Tohko) is a literature loving (and eating) goblin in schoolgirl form who force recruited our main character (Konoha) into joining the school book club to hand write her snacks. If this sounds too weird to wrap your head around, you’re in luck. If you find it intriguing and can’t wait to learn more, you’ll be disappointed. Tohko and her unusual existence are just background noise for this particular story, which instead focuses on the more normal (well, human anyway) Konoha, a strange request from a classmate to ghost write love letters and a mystery connected to the works of an particular author.
Fair warning – despite the absurd elements and the great touches of humor sprinkled in the themes are quite heavy and this is not a happy-go-lucky tale.
I really liked the story. There are a lot of interwoven layers and interesting twists and parallels. The different narration techniques used really draw you in, even if it’s quite confusing at times. There’s something particularly engaging about the interactions of our two leads and the tone of the story.
The writing has a great feel to it and wonderful turns of phrase (doubly impressive for a translation). As an example, the narrator had me hooked two paragraphs into the prologue when I read the line “I simply dusted my dark wool in white powder and pretended I was a white sheep too.” I will admit it gets wordy, especially when Tohko starts rambling about books. So if overly detailed descriptions test your patience this might not be your cup of tea.
While I can understand disappointment that Tohko is not the central focus and thus the promotional description is a bit misleading, it didn’t bother me. I enjoyed this as it was and there’s room for more about Tohko later in the series.
There’s enough strangeness here between the unusual mythology being built, the lack of focus on that same mythology, and the dense interconnected plot threads that Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime is tough to generally recommend. But the writing is quite strong and if you can deal with it’s quirks it is certainly worth a try. Personally this is one of my favorite light novel series, and this entry kicked things off in strong fashion.