*Disclaimer: a free copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
“Man loves company even if it is only that of a small burning candle.” – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Kenta Kuroki’s bitterness over his boyfriend Shota’s betrayal drives him to isolate himself from the world. As a result, he joins the ranks of the hikikomori. His self-imposed exile is disrupted by a broken internet connection, forcing Kenta to allow a technician into his home to fix the problem. Little did Kenta know that his life would take another unexpected turn as his attraction for Sato Akira grows.
From the get go, this novel piqued my curiosity as I have never heard of the “hikikomori” before and reading this piece of fiction based on a real “human condition” that is prevalent in Japan opened my eyes to another one of life’s bitter and disturbing realities.
As a whole, the novel is very readable yet filled with profound details and insightful information here and there. Both protagonists are opposites in every way and their interaction and reactions to one another were a delight to read especially when things get serious at some point and secrets are further revealed.
Kenta’s mode of existence is extreme and quite difficult to wrap one’s head into but one can somehow relate to his insecurities, fears and struggles. Akira’s personality, on the other hand, is the perfect yang (positive, bright) to Kenta’s yin (negative, dark). Together, they make for a strange pair that works out well in more ways than one as the story progresses.
Author Ana J. Phoenix has written one unforgettable, engaging, sweet and romantic tale set in exotic Japan that draws the reader in and never lets go even after the last page is read.
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