Book review | Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Author: Emiko Jean
Genre: Young Adult Romance
No. of pages: 325
Published by: Panmacmillan
Published on: 10th June 2021
My rating: ★★★★
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?
Izumi's life has always revolved around her plant-loving mom and her gang of best friends aka the Asian Girl Gang aka the AGG, and the quaint town of Mount Shasta in California. Throughout her life she has known she was different from the other Americans in her school and town. And she has been trying to find out about her Japanese culture. When her best friend Noora accidentally finds a book gifted to Izumi's mother from the father she has never known and a very intimate note, her friends put on their investigative hats on and find out about the mysterious "Mak" only to find out he's the Crown Prince Makotonomiya Toshihito of Japan.
With a flurry of activities, Izumi is flown to Tokyo to meet her father and the Imperial family. There she is taken under the wings of a very attractive but haughty Imperial bodyguard named Akio. Even though she just wanted to get to know her family, Izuma has to suddenly prove to the people of Japan that she's the "Lost Butterfly" or the Imperial Princess whom everyone can look upto.
Living a new life as the Princess comes with many cons— one of them being unable to love whoever you want. Will Izumi be able to be the Princess and also love at the same time?
I'm going to be very honest. I did not love the book for its plot. The plot is the most clichéd girl-discovers-she's-a-princess plot. But I simply loved the book because its so damn entertaining. Not once did it let me feel bored. I wanted to read this book to feel butterflies in my stomach, to get giddy, to scream "kiss kiss kiss" inside my head— and it gave me exactly that!
In fact it gave me more. It gave me a protagonist who follows her heart, gets disappointed and disheartened but does whatever she feels is the right thing to do. Izumi is so real. And she's hilarious and sarcastic. She's the Gen Z girl and I'd love to be her friend. She knows she's not perfect bet does her best. On the other hand we have Akio, the handsome bodyguard with "hooded eyes and pouty lips" and damn son— I could fangirl about him for hours and hours. I simply loved how their relationship developed so slowly and sweetly.
Tokyo Ever After gives you all the Princess Diaries feels. From the new Princess feeling out of place in the palace, learning the etiquette of the Royals, awkwardly trying to bond with her Crown Prince father, jealous cousins, the gossipy tabloids scrutinizing even the nail polish colour, to falling unceremoniously in love with a commoner. I can promise you that you will thoroughly love this book. Heck, you'll even royally fall in love with Izumi's father (the George Clooney of Japan) *winks*
The plot has a few twists but my brain has been hardwired after years of reading thrillers so it kind of became predictable for me; but fret not— the humour makes up for everything! The book as a whole is very dreamy, very Hollywood-Rom-Com sorts. And at the same time it is a wonderful coming of age story— about Izumi accepting her ancestry and her identity. So if you you want to read for fun, to just be entertained and go "oh" and "ah" then READ THIS BOOK!
Emiko Jean is the author of Tokyo Ever After. When she's not writing, she is reading. Most of her friends are imaginary. Before she became a writer she was an entomologist (fancy name for bug catcher), a candle maker, a florist, and most recently a teacher. She lives in Washington with her husband and children (unruly twins). She loves the rain.
I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.