Friday 2 July 2021

Review: Tokyo Ever After

Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Definitely buy! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Izumi Tanaka has lived an uneventful seventeen years in her small town, keenly aware of all the ways in which her family is different from most of her classmates’. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity . . . and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan.

Soon she’s traveling overseas to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she's only dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight. Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s "Japanese" enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?

Hello everyone, I'm here to introduce you to one of my favourite books of the year! I can't begin to describe to you all how much I loved this book. I loved the sound of the synopsis and I was expecting it to be a fun read, which it was by the way, I just wasn't expecting to become quite so obsessed with this book! I grew up reading The Princess Diaries and I got such big Princess Diaries vibes from this book, but more than was just so entertaining and really took me out of my own head for the entire time I was reading it. Every time I reluctantly had to put it down I couldn't wait to settle down and get back to it because yes, it had emotional moments, but it also just really made me happy when I was reading! Tokyo Ever After is a feel-good, mood lifting kind of read and ugh, it was brilliant! I'd also like to take a moment to thank this book for introducing me to the word 'mantrum'! 

I was smiling from the start of this book, I absolutely loved Izumi's narrative voice with the tone and the snark. Izumi was just a brilliant MC, like she had the snark, she was funny, she was easy to relate to, root for and empathise with. I really felt everything right there with her, both good and bad. I genuinely got so upset on her behalf whenever things would go wrong and it wasn't entirely her fault because that's the thing. Izumi finds out she's a Princess which is awesome, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows. She's been raised in the US and as such, she's not familiar with the culture and customs in Japan or what the protocol and expectations are for a Royal. So she has to navigate and learn an entirely new culture and of course she makes mistakes and doesn't always get it right, especially with her twin cousins trying to sabotage her and I really felt for her more than once. I was angry and upset on her behalf, and as Izumi's learning all about this amazing new culture, you're learning it right there with her. It also makes for some emotional moments as she feels like she doesn't fit in anywhere but she's trying so hard to, and I loved her journey to discovering just where it is she belongs and who she is with this new identity she has. I'm going to be honest, Izumi has more balls than me because she sticks out for a lot longer than I would have and it takes a lot of courage for her return at the end! 
Another thing that made this book for me was the cast of supporting characters. I LOVED Izumi's friendship group and the dynamic between them all. It was a solid friendship, they all had each other's backs and they were fully there for Izumi, plus I loved the banter! There's so many great lines in this book from Izumi and her friends that had me snorting with laughter. I really liked Yoshi, I thought he was funny and it warmed my heart that he was the first to accept her and provided some much needed chill time for her to kind of let loose and relax. Reina...I'd love to see more of Reina because I loved what we did see and she made me giggle with some of her lines! I also really loved Mariko and watching the friendship slowly grow between the two of them with Mariko opening up a little and having her back when Izumi needed it! 

Then we have Akio. I loved Akio, I loved the dynamic between them from the start when Izumi was drawing little devil horns on his  picture and fully hating him to the way that slowly shifted and changed as she started to catch feelings. There was just so much angst because of his position, but he was actually really very sweet and I loved the romance. They wrote love poems to each other, what more can I say!? 

I just really loved reading this book, it brought a never-ending smile to my face and is the kind of feel-good read that's perfect for summer! There's angst, there's drama, there's heartwarming moments and more emotional moments. Izumi's just...she always remains generous and warm no matter what people do or say to her, she's courageous because I'd have run away if I was her and watching her slowly become closer to her father as they get to know each other was beautiful too. 

I spent so much of this book either laughing out loud, gasping out loud, yelling at the book and just generally being riveted to it because as I said...the drama. There was one particular twist at the end that I didn't see coming, maybe I should have but I was having too much fun to be honest! Or maybe I was just wilfully ignoring it because of how much I loved the character and I knew it was going to hurt not only Izumi, but also me! Either way, I thought I'd figured out where this was going and if there's another book I figured this character would get more of a focus...but this twist threw that completely out of the window! The ending though...that was utterly perfect, and I'm really hoping it's not over! 

Tokyo Ever After is a brilliant, wonderful book that will have you smiling throughout! It's impossible not to cheer for Izumi, commiserate with her, gasp out loud at the twists and the drama and get a little bit emotional at the angst. It's angst with a happy ending, mind you but still...there is angst! I was fully invested in this book, I never wanted it to end and I'm so stoked to find out that it seems to be a series! Izumi's narrative voice and the brilliant cast of entertaining support characters made this book for me, along with Izumi's slow growing relationship with her father, friendship with Mariko and the sweet romance blossoming with Akio! It's funny, but also kind of packed with feels and heart, not to mention the abundance of Japanese culture to discover right alongside her! 

I need for this series to be like ten books long or never end, basically! This is definitely a favourite of mine that will be revisited many a time when I'm in need of some sunshine and smiles! 

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