I had already read the manga adaptation and loved it, but I loved the novel even more. It does a much better work in giving you an insight into Satou's mind. I could relate so much to him it was scary. Actually, I think my timing for reading this was perfect, because the story touched several points that relate to my current situation and feelings. The thing is: when I started reading the book, I was becoming sort of an almost-hikkikomori (still enrolled in university, though). But now that I finally finished it, it looks like I changed directions. I guess seeing Satou coping with his issues made easier for me to deal with mine.
Misaki was a pretty relatable character too. I can understand her and why she did everything she did.
Both Satou and Misaki were amazing characters and complemented each other. I loved the ending, specially when Satou told Misaki about the conspiracy and when they signed their hostage contract.
Even Yamazaki, a misogynistic pedophile, fit perfectly in the story. He was unlikable, but his character made
sense and felt realistic. Men like him exist. They're a result of the damage patriarchy does. And I liked the contrast between his and Satou's reactions to their own lolicon tendencies. While Satou acknowledged how wrong it was and went through a moral dilemma, Yamazaki had none of that. He justified himself and his feelings as a mean to cope with his frustration and previous rejections.
What I found appealing about the characters around Satou (Misaki, Yamazaki and the female senpai) was that they all had a reason to be who they were. There was a backstory that shaped them they way we see them. And each story told a bit about japanese society too.
I do hope people who haven't been in Satou's or Misaki's shoes, people who have never felt afraid of crowds or of social interactions, people who have never felt depressed, suicidal or worthless, and happen to come across this book, can understand a little more after reading it.