Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Young Adult

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean

Tokyo Ever After #2, sequel to Tokyo Ever After

In continuing my efforts to only read new books that I’m fairly certain I’ll enjoy, I’m turning once more to a sequel. I really enjoyed Tokyo Ever After last year and was doubly excited to get a physical advance copy from our publisher rep at the store back in December.

Synopsis

From the publisher marketing:
When Japanese-American Izumi Tanaka learned her father was the Crown Prince of Japan, she became a princess overnight. Now, she’s overcome conniving cousins, salacious press, and an imperial scandal to finally find a place she belongs. She has a perfect bodyguard turned boyfriend. Her stinky dog, Tamagotchi, is living with her in Tokyo. Her parents have even rekindled their college romance and are engaged. A royal wedding is on the horizon! Izumi’s life is a Tokyo dream come true.

Only…Her parents’ engagement hits a brick wall. The Imperial Household Council refuses to approve the marriage citing concerns about Izumi and her mother’s lack of pedigree. And on top of it all, her bodyguard turned boyfriend makes a shocking decision about their relationship. At the threat of everything falling apart, Izumi vows to do whatever it takes to help win over the council. Which means upping her newly acquired princess game.

But at what cost? Izumi will do anything to help her parents achieve their happily ever after, but what if playing the perfect princess means sacrificing her own? Will she find a way to forge her own path and follow her heart?

Review

Marielle, my friend and our children’s book buyer at the store, tells me I should read more YA and middle grade books. I tell her as the adult buyer, I’ll focus on adult titles and she can tell me which of hers are her favorite and then maybe, maybe I’ll read them. But Izumi’s books I found all on my own and they make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. This year, I’ve read my single YA title for the year super early though (finished on January 4th), so I may have to listen to Marielle and pick up one or two more before the end of 2022.

In Tokyo Dreaming, Izumi has started to settle in more to her new role as a princess in Japan and her mom comes to visit, and ultimately decides to stay giving Izumi the family she has always longed for. But apparently not the family the Japanese people have always longed for. Izumi and her mom don’t fit in to the idealization of the Imperial Family, so much so that her mom and dad, crown prince of Japan, may not even be given permission to marry. So Izumi, newly broken hearted and desperate to keep her family together, decides to do everything in her power to help smooth the way to their happily ever after.

She’s been dumped by Akio, the imperial guard who resigned to be her boyfriend because the Imperial Household doesn’t think he’s good enough, and she’s studying ardently to win a place at the University of Tokyo to make her family proud. When she starts to fall for her tutor, Eriku, a welcome new character and scion of a shipping company, the Imperial Household is through the moon. Added to that her burgeoning friendship with her cousins, the Shining Twins, and it seems that Izumi might actually pull it all off.

Tokyo Dreaming covers heartbreak, new friendships, growing apart from your childhood friends, and new love. All the hallmarks of a great YA romance, one that Emiko Jean weaves together with expert precision. I loved returning to Izumi’s Tokyo and getting to see more of her with her parents and her parents relationships together. I loved Eriku, and having Noora play a part in the greater story, along with getting to know the Shining Twins better, it felt like a great amalgamation of all my favorite bits of Tokyo Ever After while still moving the story forward.

Like Tokyo Ever After, the ending is a fitting one for Tokyo Dreaming, but leaves the door open for more, something I am very much hoping for.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through BookShop or your local independent, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.

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