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Brave Story

by Miyuki Miyabe
Translated by Alexander O. Smith

Published by U.S. edition: Viz Media, 2007
ISBN: 1–4215–1196–7

Ages 10-14

Wataru Mitani is an eleven-year-old boy living in a suburb of Tokyo. He likes playing video games with his best friend Katchan more than going to school or studying for exams at evening cram school. Recently, a school rumor has been swirling suggesting that a building near Wataru’s house is haunted. Wataru doesn’t believe in ghosts so he’s not surprised when nothing supernatural appears the night he and Katchan explore the building, although the two boys do have a strange, unsettling encounter with the building’s owner. This is followed by something even more unsettling at home: Wataru’s father announces that he is leaving Wataru and his mother. The shocking announcement turns Wataru’s world upside down. His mother spirals into physical and emotional chaos, becoming a risk to herself and others when she attempts suicide, and his father becomes even more distant and detached. Filled with desperation and confusion, Wataru returns to the building and discovers a rare portal into a fantasy world called Vision. The realm of Vision is ruled by the Goddess who lives in the Tower of Destiny. Seeing the opportunity to change the fate of his family through the help of the Goddess, Wataru embarks on a quest. The deft blending of fantasy and reality in Brave Story extends to Vision itself, which strangely parallels people and circumstances from the real world (in addition to features from video games). Brave Story offers a tantalizing adventure and fresh new fantasy wrapped up in a hefty translation of fate, love, and family. The novel will give readers a strong sense of contemporary youth culture in Japan, where it was originally published, and where both Manga and Anime spinoffs of the story have been produced.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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