Another: Volume 1
Yukito Ayatsuji
Yen Press

Another is a bit ghost story, a bit horror and a bit teen coming of age fiction. Sakakibara is a transfer student into the North Yomi School. He’s placed in Class 3 and is quickly caught up in a mystery about Class 3 and curse that is a little more than the usual mysteries associated with any school. He is fascinated with Mei Misaki who may or may not exist.

I found that Another got off to a slow start. Sakakibara’s pneumothorax is an essential part of the plot, but I wondered when the story was going to get started. The narration style was also very different than what I am used to. Having said that the story got me hooked and by the time I reached the end of Volume 1, I couldn’t wait to find Volume 2 and find out what happens next.

Some of the cultural things were very interesting aside from the plot. The comments on the signs that people chose to sign their names and thus add a new layer of meaning to them were cool, though I didn’t see a connection to the plot. Some of the off hand remarks about the nature of schools and schedules reminded me the the Japanese culture is different than what I am used to. It was a privilege to get a bit of an inside glimpse.

I would recommend the book for those who like ghost stories and who have the patience to work their way into a slightly different way of telling a story and describing character. It is very much worth the effort.

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