The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Vol. 1
Little, Brown Young Readers (2009)
Reviewed by McKenzie Tritt (age 15) for Reader Views (8/09)
Meet Kyon, a simple, high-school freshman boy with an ordinary life. Nothing exciting ever happens to him, and he’s okay with that. But everything changes for him when he enters his new school. Now, meet Haruhi, the freshman girl who’s going to change Kyon’s life. For better or worse, no one’s quite sure. At first glance Haruhi is beautiful and athletic. But when the first words she speaks are “I have no interest in ordinary humans. If there are any aliens, time travelers, sliders, or espers here, come join me,” Kyon realizes he’s in for quite the ride. Haruhi is cold and rude to anyone who attempts to talk to her, but to Kyon’s, and everyone else’s, surprise, Haruhi responds to him. No one’s really sure if that’s a good thing or not. After all, Haruhi is known for being a little crazy, after the chalk incident and the numerous other strange happenings.
After hopping from school club to club, Haruhi is incredibly disappointed with the results. None are new or interesting or exciting. Luckily for her, Kyon gives her the idea of starting her own club. From there forms “The Save the World by Overloading It with Fun Haruhi Suzumiya Brigade” or the S.O.S. Brigade for short. Their mission is to seek out the mysteries in life and look for the extraordinary. Haruhi recruits, read: forcefully drags, new members to join the club. First there’s Yuki Nagato, the book-reading, sits-in-a-corner-type of girl. Then there’s Mikuru Asahina, the girl with a cute face and enough curves to bring attention to the Brigade. Later on comes Itsuki Koizumi, the mysterious transfer student. Last, but certainly not least, are Kyon and Haruhi. Now they just have to seek out mysterious humans amongst them. Little does Haruhi know that those mysterious humans are closer than she expects, as Kyon learns quickly enough. He also learns that Haruhi has the power to create and destroy the universe. Good thing she doesn’t know it.
With quirky characters and hilarious dialogue, there’s no doubt that “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” will be a hit in America, just as it was in Japan. The characters were all well developed and definitely not stereotypical. The plot was great; it was full of twists and turns that I barely saw coming. It held me from beginning to end, never ceasing to enthrall me as I turned page after page, always excited for what would happen next. On top of everything, the dialogue was hilarious. I connected with Kyon’s sarcasm and this was one of the few books that actually caused me to laugh out loud. I recommend this book for ages 13 and up because there is some sexual content. “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” by Nagaru Tanigawa is great for fantasy lovers. Even those who tend to avoid fantasy won’t be overwhelmed and will easily be able to enjoy this wonderful piece of work. I can’t wait for the next installment in the story of the S.O.S. Brigade as they join Haruhi and her hilarious antics in the quest for all things mysterious.