Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This sequel to Tokyo Ever After was what my spirit needed. I was ecstatic when I discovered the series as a retelling of The Princess Diaries, as I was freaking obsessed with that series growing up. Tokyo Dreaming was super cute, and I personally would like more college-aged coming of age stories.
Izumi is trying to figure out her place as she sits on the precipice of the rest of her life. She is caught at the crossroads of several decisions: where and what she wants to study, choosing her old life and her new one, and who she is in love with. The main struggle of the story is finding a balance between who she is at her core and who she represents to the Japanese people. Izumi is caught between responsibility and authenticity.
I very much enjoyed this story of trying to figure out who you want to be in life. At that age we are constantly inundated with the noise of what we should be doing– people keep “shoulding” on us. And we see the struggle, as well as the stakes, are higher when there is the added pressure of being a part of a royal family.
Of course my favorite part of the story was the love triangle. For me, it wasn’t a question of who she would choose, but I knew in my heart she would not be with the guy I was rooting for. But I guess I was still happy with the outcome. *still secretly cries*
I am an adultier adult, but I appreciate YA. One thing about Emiko Jean is that sometimes it is easy for me to forget she is writing for younger people. She writes about the standard things teen girls care about and find relatable, but there is a level of maturity in the development of her characters that I love.
I feel in my spirit that this isn’t the last we will see of Izumi, and I can’t wait to see how her story will continue. A trilogy, perhaps?
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