If you’re not reading The Promised Neverland, what is your excuse?!?! The art is AMAZING, the characters intriguing, and the plot truly messes with your mind (and heart). Of all the manga to kick off in the last year or so, TPN takes the cake and smashes it down the throats of the other mangas.

Of course, you’ll expect me to back up these claims with some impressive evidence. And I can’t, actually—not without giving away at least a couple of the delicious plot twists—and I really, really don’t want to deprive you of the pleasure of experiencing them all for yourself.

But I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to give a bit of background. So, there’s this orphanage called Grace Field, and all the kids live a full and happy childhood. A kind and beautiful woman cares for them, and they call her “Mom”. And even though the kids are sad to part, they rejoice whenever one of them is adopted and sent off to a new family.

Which, somehow, always happens before they become teenagers.

In fact, there’s an odd amount of regulation in their carefree lives. They can’t leave the front gate. They aren’t allowed to leave the back woods. And they have freakin’ serial numbers on their necks.

Did I mention Mom has a tracking device that lets her know where all the kids are all the time?

The first chapter slowly builds the unsettling sense that something is just a bit off… and then rams a fence post through your heart as the plot suddenly shoots off a cliff. From that point on, it’s a bobsled ride of mind games, as 12-year-olds Emma, Norman, and Ray work to unravel who is trustworthy, what the truth is, and how they can escape and survive.

The Promised Neverland is pure manga gold. Weekly Shonen Jump is currently serializing it, and Viz Media has the first chapters available for free on its website. Take a taste.

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