Lonely Castle in the Mirror

Mizuki Tsujimura, Philip Gabriel

Lonely Castle in the Mirror
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Lonely Castle in the Mirror

Mizuki Tsujimura, Philip Gabriel

How can you save your friend’s life if she doesn’t want to be rescued?

In a tranquil neighbourhood of Tokyo, seven teenagers wake to find their bedroom mirrors are shining.

At a single touch, they are pulled from their lonely lives to a wondrous castle filled with winding stairways, watchful portraits and twinkling chandeliers. In this new sanctuary, they are confronted with a set of clues leading to a hidden room where one of them will be granted a wish. But there’s a catch: if they don’t leave the castle by five o'clock, they will all die.

As time passes, a devastating truth emerges: only those brave enough to share their stories will be saved.

Tender, playful, gripping, Lonely Castle in the Mirror is a mesmerizing tale about the importance of reaching out, confronting anxiety and embracing human connection.

Review

Kokoro doesn’t want to go back to school. After enduring painful bullying at the hands of her classmates, her whole body seems to rebel at the idea of returning to Yukishina No. 5 Junior High. Barricading herself at home, one day her mirror begins to emit a strange glow and, in a Narnia-like sequence, Kokoro is transported through the mirror to a magical castle. On arrival she meets a young girl in a wolf mask with an intriguing mission: if Kokoro can find the special key that unlocks the Wishing Room she will be granted any wish her heart desires. But Kokoro is not the only one on the hunt for the key.

Six other teenagers with mysterious pasts and their own reasons for avoiding school have also been transported to the Lonely Castle. There is, of course, a catch. The seven students only have the length of the school year to find the key and they all have to leave the castle at 5pm everyday or else be eaten by a big bad wolf. Will any of them be able to find the key before time runs out?

Already a bestseller in Japan, Lonely Castle in the Mirror is bound to delight English-language readers as well. Drawing on European fairytales and the painful moments that are universal to all adolescents, Mizuki Tsujimura crafts an absolutely beautiful book about the power of human connection and belonging. Like many books with fantastical elements, it has great crossover appeal: an amazing read for teenagers and adults alike. Dark, playful and so full of heart.


Tristen Brudy works as a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

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