Hello lovelies! 🥰
I am back with a review for my latest 5-star book. The book had been on my radar, because 1) That cover!!! 2) the synopsis made me go “gimme gimme gimme” and 3) the representation!!!
Title: Tokyo Ever After
Author: Emiko Jean
Synopsis: Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity… and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.
In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always 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? (Goodreads)
5 stars: Persephone – Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring. Persephone is my favourite goddess because she is full of contradictions – she represents both strength as queen of the underworld and a softness as a floral maiden. She teaches me how it’s okay to be both. If Persephone appears, that means that the book was one of the best books I’ve ever read, that it holds a particular place in my heart and that it is now part of my favourite books ever.
Athena– Goddess of wisdom, poetry, art, and the strategic side of war. I will feature the goddess whenever there is a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour) because they are a symbol of resilience, strength and wisdom to me. I also want to put forth African folkore, myths and gods and since Athena is the goddess of poetry and art I thought it was fitting.
I am very happy to say that this book lived up to my expectations – it was the cutest, most wholesome, smile-inducing book ever!
The plot hooked me from the beginning and the author doesn’t waste time giving the reader what we want – Izumi discovering that she is a real life princess. I loved seeing her navigating her journey as a royal, learning about protocol and etiquette, discovering Japan, its culture and traditions (Japan has the oldest monarchy of the world!!) and avoiding as many faux pas as she can. This was so clever because I discovered Japan with her and it actually made me want to go more than ever. The description of Tokyo as well as the country side and lifestyle were dreamy and I felt like I was visiting Japan and it brought a sense of peace and contentment as Izumi felt like she finally belonged. Izumi was such a positive and loving main character and it was incredibly refreshing to see her being so good natured and trusting.
The author managed to include those topics in a wonderful way and still maintained a light and heartfelt atmosphere in the book. Izumi grew up in the US as a Japanese-American teen and the author didn’t shy away from discussions of racism and the stereotypes Asian-Americans have to face (in the US and from the western point of view in general).
The author also mentions how hard balancing two cultures is and feeling like not really belonging in one and that resonated with me so much.
“I don’t have an American half and a Japanese half. I am a whole person. Nobody gets to tell me if I am Japanese enough or too American.”
The best part of this book were the different bonds Izumi formed with the other characters. Her pan-Asian friend group (the Asian Girl Gang was so funny and supportive. The AGG is the best group of friends anyone could ask for and it was a nice break from the toxic friend groups often found in YA books. I liked how Izumi interacted with everyone around her, especially her lady-in-waiting, her staff and even her cousins by the end of the book. I also loved to see her bond with her father grow as they both learned to be vulnerable and honest with the other. It was nice to see the different shapes love can take and how different her relationship with each parent was but how you could still see the love they shared.
Since we’re on the topic of love, this book completely sold me on the royal/bodyguard trope!! YES. YES. YES. The romance was EVERYTHING and the best thing ever!! They wrote each other poems and were one of the cutest book couples ever; I loved how slowly and steadily their love bloomed. I just couldn’t stop smiling and swooning.
Tokyo Ever After is a “feel good book” that will leave you smiling long after you read the last page. It is sunshine encompassed in 300 pages and the perfect Princess Diaries retelling with amazing representation!! I cannot recommend this enough.