Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Chain Mail - Hiroshi Ishizaki



Chain Mail
Addicted to You
Hiroshi Ishizaki
TokyoPop/HarperCollins

Young Adult/Thriller

In Tokyo, junior high student Sawako gets a surprise message on her cell phone, inviting her to join in on an interactive story. The idea is that each participant will write a character in a story about a girl, a tutor, a detective, and a stalker. Sawako, an overachiever with no friends to speak of, is excited about the opportunity to be creative and to connect with other young people. Mayumi and Mai are two more girls who get the same message. Although the girls don’t recognize the name of the person who sent the messages, it sounds like fun.

The originator of the message, Yukari, takes on the character of the stalker in the story. For a time, it’s fun and the girls get very involved. Then, Sawako goes missing both in the story and in real life. For the first time, the other two girls wonder about how much of this is reality and how much is fantasy. And will one of them be next?

A very interesting take on the story-within-a-story format, CHAIN MAIL makes excellent use of the ever-present cell phones and teenage culture. While that culture takes place in Tokyo, teenage girls aren’t so different from one side of the world to another. A tight plot and ‘it could happen to you’ feel may disturb more sensitive readers; but most readers will be instantly drawn into this novel, and will want to read it in one sitting.

Rating: 7 ½
January 2007
ISBN# 1-59816-581-X

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