ARC Review: Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Have you ever come across a book outside of your preferred genres and just knew it would be a delightful read? That’s how I felt when the publicist emailed me about Tokyo Ever After. The epitome of “The Princess Diaries but make it Asian,” it’s exactly the kind of book I want to read and am forever thankful that Flatiron reached out to me about it. I loved this book with my whole heart and can’t wait for you all to read Tokyo Ever After!
About Tokyo Ever After
Publisher: Flatiron Books | Release Date: May 18, 2021 | Pages: 336
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Romance, Contemporary | Format: Physical ARC | Source: Publisher
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?
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Japanese American main character, Asian American & Japanese supporting cast, single parent household
alcohol use, bullying, elitism, racism
My Review of Tokyo Ever After
Tokyo Ever After follows Izumi, an eighteen year old Japanese American who discovers she’s actually a Japanese princess and embarks on a whirlwind of adventure, self-discovery, and romance. I had the most delightful time reading this book and devoured it in one sitting… and wouldn’t mind reading a sequel if we could be so lucky!
Fast-paced and energetic, the narrative is full of Izumi’s spunk and sass. There’s a light and conversational tone that makes you feel like one of her friends; it reads almost like a journal entry or having your best friend recall their shenanigans to you.
“It is the sacred duty of best friends to convince you to do the things you should not do.”
Speaking of friends: this book has the most delightful cast of characters! I adore ride-or-die and supportive friendships, and Izumi has that in spades with her best friend Noora and the AGG (Asian Girl Gang). Their banter and rapport with one another is one that I aspire to with my friendships. Some characters were more developed than others, but I found myself enjoying each of them and the position they hold in Izumi’s life. Well, except for the Shining Twins, who are arguably terrible.
There’s no easier way to get me interested in a romantic arc than a bodyguard romance, and I adored the romance in Tokyo Ever After! I’m a sucker for hate-to-love romance arcs and watching preconceived notions and first impressions melt away for romantic feelings. For some reason these kinds of romances ring the most true to me. Add to the mix instant attraction so the character is caught between their dislike of the person and their hormones? Yes. (Any man who fails to schedule a bathroom break after a 14 hour flight doesn’t deserve rights.)
“Princess. Most girls dreamed of this. I didn’t. My mom bought me building blocks with Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Hillary Clinton on them. I just dreamed of having a father, knowing where I come from, and being able to speak proudly about who I am.”
Izumi’s father was never in the picture and her mother wouldn’t tell her more than it was a one-night stand in college. Imagine her surprise when she found out that not only wasn’t true, but her father is the Crown Prince of Japan. Izumi is swept away to Japan to meet and get to know her father’s side of the family, providing her with an opportunity to learn about her heritage for the first time.
“It hits me: I’m not a novelty here. I am not a sore thumb. What a privilege it is to blend in.”
This book provides much needed representation to all the Asian kids who grew up wishing they were royalty. As a white reader, I won’t be able to give this beautiful ownvoices story the review it deserves, but encourage you to read reviews for Asian readers who can speak to the representation from their perspective. Honestly, read CW’s review as it is way better than mine.
“Don’t you ever feel like you don’t belong anywhere? Like you’re two discordant halves living in one body? I’m not American enough. I’m not Japanese enough.”
Tokyo Ever After is a fun book full of laughter and friendship. I cherish the time that I spend with these characters and wouldn’t hate a sequel. I don’t read a lot of contemporary but the book is so soft and full of sunshine that I want to read more.
Pre-order a hardcover of Tokyo Ever After and submit your receipt to receive an enamel pin. (US only, sorry friends.)
No two readers experience a book in the same way; this was mine, but what about you?
💬 Have you read Tokyo Ever After yet? If so, what are your thoughts?
💬 Did I convince you to add this book to your TBR?
💬 What are your favorite books with forbidden or bodyguard romance? What should I add to my TBR?
Let’s go on another adventure together!