The title for Rin Usami’s novel, “Idol, Burning,” may suggest that it’s an indictment of idol-pop culture or a commentary on celebrities and fandom. It is, in fact, a quietly brilliant exploration of an adolescent existing on the margins of society, chasing after a meaningful life.

Akari Yamashita, the book’s 17-year-old narrator, lights up the page with her distinctive voice. As taut, riotous prose unfolds, she is revealed to be sensitive and observant: “In the same way that a night of sleep puts wrinkles in a bedsheet, just being alive took a toll. ... I exhausted myself trying to achieve the bare minimum, but it had never been enough. My will and my body would always disengage before I got there.”

Idol, Burning, by Rin Usami,Translated by Asa Yoneda.144 pagesHARPERVIA, Fiction.