Real World

Author: Natsuo Kirino

The lady who lives next door has been violently murdered, and Toshi is almost positive that the boy next door (whom she refers to as “Worm”) is the culprit. Her suspicions are confirmed when she gets a call from the cell phone that was stolen, along with her bike, on the same day as the murder–from Worm! Still, she doesn’t turn him in. Rather, she and her three best friends, Yuzan, Kirarin, and Terauchi, somehow get caught up in the excitement of talking with him on the phone, and even visiting him on occasion as he is on the run. It’s hard to say exactly why, but each has her own circumstances, her own reasons for getting herself involved in the game. The real question isn’t why, but whether any of them will be able to leave this deadly serious game unchanged.

Real World was a unique reading experience for me. I usually don’t read crime novels, but I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about Kirino-sensei and figured I’d give it a try. The story is extremely well written, with great insight into the characters, a nice flow, great readability, and just a nice style in general. It’s definitely dark–I would only recommend this for people who are stable, because the characters themselves are definitely not. The author has some incredible insights into a generation that is constantly bombarded by media, parental expectations, and a general feeling of not being understood at all–frequently even by oneself. I think this book should be read if only for the understanding it gives in those areas. Real World is a serious, thoughtful (but at the same time, exciting) read with some definite mature content, but I think it’s worthwhile for those who are up to the challenge.

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