“Seven students are avoiding going to school, hiding in their darkened bedrooms, unable to face their family and friends, until the moment they discover a portal into another world that offers temporary escape from their stressful lives. Passing through a glowing mirror, they gather in a magnifcent castle which becomes their playground and refuge during school hours. The students are tasked with locating a key, hidden somewhere in the castle, that will allow whoever finds it to be granted one wish. At this moment, the castle will vanish, along with all memories they may have of their adventure. If they fail to leave the castle by 5 pm every afternoon, they will be eaten by the keeper of the castle, an easily provoked and shrill creature named the Wolf Queen.“
An eARC copy was kindly provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book has become one of my favourite Japanese literature reads of all time and is a story that will stay with me for awhile. The main premise of a young teen having struggles with mental heath, avoiding people and not going to school already hit very close to home for me so from the get go I already knew this book was going to hit me pretty hard. Isn’t having a magical portal mirror to another place something we all dreamt about as children? Especially as a form of escape from the struggles of real life, reading this book made that fantasy come true for me and being able to follow the main characters journey and seeing her growth and making connections was written very well.
We also get to focus on several other childrens lives who are all having different kinds of struggles but all manage to find solidarity in eachother. This book also has some great twists and kept me engaged the whole time. There are some depictions of bullying, sexual abuse and fat shaming aswell as loss of family members. I highly recommend this book to not only lovers of Japanese literature but to everyone, it is a magical heart felt read that will stay with you.