Tokyo Ever After

Flatiron. May 2021. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250766601. POP.
Gr 8 Up–Izumi, a Japanese American high school student, has a pretty average life: a band of awesome misfit friends, a delicious diner where she’s a regular, and a loving mother—everything a high school senior needs. Or is it? Her father’s identity has always been a mystery her mother has refused to discuss beyond that he was simply a one-night stand in college. One day Izumi accidentally learns his name, her first real clue to his whereabouts. Her friend researches the name and everything starts spiraling...until Izumi is in Japan with the knowledge that her father is the Crown Prince. Not only that, here she is, in Japan with the entire country’s eyes staring straight at her. The whiplash from such a fast time line hits Izumi hard. Is this her chance to find where she really feels at home or will finding out her mother’s secret ruin everything? Told from Izumi’s point of view, the story explores the deep feelings of loneliness BIPOC children sometimes feel when they are the minority within their American town and have little connection to their ancestors’ birth country. Izumi’s determined spirit and character arc will endear readers to her. Vibrant descriptions of Japan and Izumi’s reactions feel cheesy but truly realistic, capturing all of the fear, excitement, and admiration one could have when visiting a country with a different culture than their own. Izumi is a fully realized protagonist whom teens will find relatable.
VERDICT A fun experience that readers will want to read again and again.

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