*I received an e-ARC from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. A big thank you Raincoast Books for giving me the opportunity to read Tokyo Ever After early!
This is another book that is so different from what I usually read, but I’m so glad I picked it up! After seeing this absolutely stunning cover (seriously though, how gorgeous is it?!), I looked it up on Goodreads and knew I just had to check it out!
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean is a Japanese version of The Princess Diaries mixed with a dash of Crazy Rich Asian and Gilmore Girls. The story follows Izumi Tanaka, a Japanese-American living in northern California with her single mom. All her life, she has never known who her father is, or why he never tried to reach out during her childhood. After stumbling upon a clue to who he might be, Izumi and her friends soon discover that her father is the crown prince of Japan! She soon finds herself swept off to Tokyo to meet her father and other family members and quickly finds herself in over her head.
Tokyo Ever After was such a joy to read and there were so many parts that made me literally laugh out loud! If you’re looking for a light and fun read that will transport you to another country while travel restrictions continue, I highly recommend picking this book up! It gave me such nostalgia for Japan and was the perfect read as Ontario locks down further and my chances of travelling in 2021 decrease.
The story focuses a lot on identity and finding a place where you belong. In California, Izumi never feels like she belongs in her predominantly white town. When she first goes to Japan, she is initially excited to be somewhere where the general population looks like her, however, she soon realizes that the language and cultural barriers cause her to be an outsider there as well. I must admit that for the first few chapters, I wasn’t a big fan of Izumi at first, but after reading a few chapters, she really began to grow on me. I especially loved her interactions with Akio, her bodyguard and love interest.
There are some issues with the story that did frustrate me a tad. On her flight to Tokyo, Izumi is given a binder with details on her family, her security team and family customs, but doesn’t even bother to open it. I find it a little unbelievable that they wouldn’t have persuaded her to open it, or verbally briefed her on the people who would be around her constantly and what was expected of her. There are also a couple times where her tutors just throw her into a situation without giving her an inkling of what she’s supposed to do or say, which leads to some pretty cringey situations. It just boggles my mind that someone whose job is to prevent the royal family from looking bad would’ve allowed that to happen in the first place. Otherwise, this was such a great and funny story!
Tokyo Ever After comes out on May 18, 2021. You can pre-order your copy online or from your local bookstore!