Book Girl and the Captive Fool

Author: Mizuki Nomura

Illustrator: Miho Takeoka

Book Girl Series, vol. 3

When the book girl, Tohko, finds a page missing in a library book she’s reading–and the most delicious page of the volume, no less!–she is incensed. Especially since she was being good and refraining from tearing the book up to eat it herself! Naturally, she’s off to discover the culprit and bring him to task–dragging the less-than-thrilled Konoha along, of course. When they catch Akutagawa (one of Konoha’s classmates) in the act, Tohko goes off at her own pace again, demanding he be in the book club’s festival play as penance. However, as they spend time together practicing (and, let’s face it, snooping behind Akutagawa’s back), years and oceans of angst and troubled relationships seem to come to the surface. Enough so that one might wonder if Akutagawa can ever recover . . . or Konoha either, for that matter.

The more I read of this series, the more I enjoy them! Book Girl and the Captive Fool precedes the first volume that I read, Book Girl and the Wayfarer’s Lamentation–I think it’s directly before, but they aren’t numbered on the covers, and I keep getting confused! In any case, present volume (#3) is an intense, beautiful, and romantic story which pulls a lot of its ideas and feel from Friendship by Saneatsu Mushanokōji. It’s laden with lots of conflict, angst, and confusion; however, the bitterness is mixed and lightened with friendship, humor, and affection in larger quantities than the players themselves realize initially. Actually, I wonder if Konoha will ever realize his actual feelings (for Tohko), but I have a feeling he’s always going to be a bit slow in that regard. Still, Book Girl and the Captive Fool was a delicious story about friendship and moving past our own foolish actions. I would certainly recommend this delightful light novel to anyone with a taste for Japanese literature–or quality stories about friendship and its challenges.

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