Hi there readers! I had the pleasure of getting the chance to read Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean, courtesy of the lovely folks at Raincoast Books. It has been quite some time since a young adult book review here, so it’s a treat to dive back in! Read on for my thoughts on this bestselling- and Reese’s YA Bookclub pick!– novel as well as a few other teen and adult fiction titles I’ve read in the last while and would definitely recommend. Happy reading!
With affectionate comparisons having been made to Meg Cabot’s blockbuster series The Princess Diaries, Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians series, as well as to Dennie Gordon’s film What A Girl Wants, Emiko Jean’s Tokyo After After (Tokyo Ever After #1) is a lively and fresh thrown-into-the-royal-spotlight contemporary young adult title. Izumi ‘Izzy’ Tanaka has never quite felt at home in her hometown of Mount Shasta, California. As a Japanese-American in a predominantly white town and raised by her single mom (a respected, Harvard-educated professor), Izumi often wondered about the missing parts of her life and her self. And mostly, about her father- someone her mother has never been keen to speak much about or reveal details about. The last few months before her graduation from high school however, the desire and need to know about her father and her Japanese family history grows to a bursting point. Aided by the research and help of her trio of best friends- and by a sneak into her mother’s few mementos- Izumi finds out that her birth father is none other than the Crown Prince of Japan (or, as her friends also refer to him, the Asian George Clooney). Izumi’s life is fundamentally, forever altered. In breakneck pace, Izzy- Crown Princess Izumi- soon finds herself at the airport, ready to say goodbye to her mom and spend two weeks in Japan, getting to know her father. And the rest of the Imperial House of Japan. And everything else that this new, seemingly fairytale twist will bring. What Izumi discovers when she lands in Japan- and not only gets to know her father but also an incredibly dense, almost impenetrable new way of conduct and expectations- are reeling waves of emotions and experiences. As life in this new spotlight and new country begins and swiftly takes off, Izzy navigates some dicey family bonds as well as a serious attraction to the handsome young man assigned to protect her life. Tokyo Ever After is a lovely blend of romance, familial relationships and dynamics, as well as a fascinating dive into the Imperial Family and its inner mechanics. At times, it feels as though the novel teeters a bit- almost taking on too many topics, subplots and tonal shifts- arguably leaving the most captivating elements (that of Izzy’s relationship to the spotlight and crown, her father and mother, and barriers with love interest Akio)- unattended for bursts of time. All in all, however, Tokyo Ever After is a delight; seriously engaging and heartfelt. Izzy is a fascinating, evolving character- chameleon-like and constantly surprising- and it will be a treat to read more of her adventures in a planned second Tokyo Ever After!
Now here’s a quick look at some other YA fiction, YA graphic novels, and adult fiction I’ve read an enjoyed! In no particular order here they are: Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera; Beetle and the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne; Skim by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki; The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity, illustrated by Christopher J. Baldwin; the very funny, sharp and thrilling Finlay Donovan is Killing It (Finlay Donovan #1) by Elle Cosimano; the wonderfully romantic, sweet, and captivating Get A Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1) by Talia Hibbert; the stunningly written, deeply felt Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson; the completely swoon-worthy, glorious historical romance Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1) by Evie Dunmore; the twisty and surprising Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid; and last but not least, The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow, extraordinarily beautiful Pride & Prejudice story from Mary Bennet’s vantage point.
I received a copy of Tokyo Ever After title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own. All titles featured have been published and are currently available.