The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsui
|The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsui|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A girl has to tell her fellow students she is seeing things before their time, and another tries to understand her nightmares - all too successfully, in this pair of quaint but enjoyable genre reads for young teens.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 200||Date: May 2011|
|Publisher: Alma Books|
Kazuko is clearing up her school science lab after hours when something strange happens. She appears to disturb an intruder busy doing some kind of chemistry experiment - one that leaves a lavender scent to the room. She faints, and comes to to find no trace of any disturbance. But things get weirder - she starts to see her and her schoolfriends enduring disaster after disaster. Has she now got powers of premonition, or is something odder at foot?
"It's a bit like science fiction, isn't it?" asks her friend Kazuo. (Am I alone in wishing an editor had made the names look more different on the page?) And indeed it is, as well as being another genre, ultimately, which we'll leave you to discover. Were this to be an adult book we might classify it as general fiction, too, as it covers day-to-day-ness, emotions, school life etc, and grounds its sci-fi ideas on a very earthy, human, personal basis.
It does so with quite a naive style, noticeably. People, we're told, do actually jump for joy. We're also told a lot as opposed to shown, but that ties in with this being a novella of a hundred pages. It's briskly experienced, easily understood, and easily enjoyed - albeit also in a temporary, understated manner.
And so a companion story, of sixty pages, turns into a J-horror, with the letter standing for Juvenile as well as Japanese. A young girl is angry at herself for being scared of a monstrous carnival mask, and tries to rid herself of fear - but finds her baby brother and her own past contain more than she expected.
Once again we see a naivety borne from these dating from the 1960s - how many times can you remember so many people fainting sincerely in young teen writing?! - but we also see the easy, visual style of Tsutsui, complete with many cinematic moments and tricks such as the flashbacks in both tales. It's for an entirely different audience to some of his books (I don't think something called Salmonella Men on Planet Porno is a teen read) but it should generally be a satisfied audience all the same.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
To combine time travel and horror in one for this audience, we heartily recommend The School of Night: Creeping Terror by Justin Richards.
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