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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Blog Tour & Review: Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Tokyo Ever After
by Emiko Jean

Thanks so much to Flatiron Books for this gifted copy.  Continue after the review for a Q&A with the author.

Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publish Date: May 18, 2021
336 Pages
Series: Tokyo Ever After #1
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity… and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

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?

My Review:

What a simply delightful read!  In just the first few chapters, I found myself writing down quotes such as  "if white people can learn Klingon, they can learn to pronounce your name" (omg, SO MUCH THIS).  And "my bestie from another teste" which made me giggle because I'm a child 🤣... but is just an inkling of the fun humor that encompasses this entire read.  To something a bit more serious and how I felt when I was a kid - "I wished both my parents were white.  White was beautiful.  White was the color of my dolls and the models and families I saw on TV.  Like shortening my name, a paler skin color and a rounder eye shape would have made my life so much easier, the world so much more accessible."   The not being white enough in America and not being Japanese enough in Japan.  YES IZUMI, I HEAR YOU!

But wouldn't you know it, turns out the sperm donor she thought her mother didn't from who is Japanese royalty and she's a dang princess!! 🤯 Take all of this and throw in an "offensively hot" body guard who broods and well.... you know where this is headed. 😉  The fun is traveling along with Izumi as she navigates this new, very intrusive life.  Will she find balance? Will she fully embrace this side of her she almost wanted to erase before?  You'll have to read to find out.  

I did find Izumi to be a little annoying at times but to be fair, she's a teenager and I tend to find all teenagers a bit annoying. 😏  Then again, I could never imagine being that age and having to really tap into a side of my heritage that I barely knew a thing about.  I'm beyond thrilled with reading a book where things really resonated with me as a half-Korean and dual identity.  I never knew until not that long ago that I really needed this.  Looking foward to the next in the series.


A Conversation with Emiko Jean


Author of Tokyo Ever After

Q: In Tokyo Ever After, Izumi discovers that the father she’s never known is the Crown Prince of Japan and that she herself is an Imperial Princess. Can you tell us a little bit about the Japanese Imperial Family and what kind of research you had to do while writing Tokyo Ever After? Did you learn anything interesting or surprising about Japan or the Imperial Family that you didn’t know before?


A: I did a ton of research for this book. I devoured biographies, history texts, banned books, periodicals, web searches, and attended lectures. All of this came together like puzzle pieces to make a whole picture of the imperial family of Japan—their politics, their personal lives, their public lives. I am also fortunate to have friends in Japan who consulted on the book, helping bring Tokyo and Kyoto to life. 

Q: Tokyo Ever After is such a transporting, escapist read that will make people want to hop on a plane to Japan as soon as quarantine is over. Which places in Japan—from the glitzy palaces in Tokyo to the temples and bamboo groves in Kyoto—were the most fun to write about, and what are you most excited for readers to experience while following Izumi’s escapades?


A: While I enjoyed writing about Japan in general, I adored writing about Kyoto. It is such a special city and many ways, the heart of Japan. And I think, or at least hope, that shows through the text.

Q: In addition to taking us on a transporting journey through Japan and some of its famous cities and landmarks, Tokyo Ever After also offers readers something of a food tour through Tokyo. Do you have any favorite Japanese foods or snacks that you especially wanted to incorporate into the book?


A: I love dorayaki, which I think shows in the book. Unfortunately, my love for it does not translate into being able to make it.

Q: Tokyo Ever After features a seriously brooding Imperial bodyguard named Akio, who you have referred to as “offensively hot.” What can you tease about his character and his relationship with Izumi?


A: It is very much an enemies-to-friends-to-maybe more situation—there are a lot of sparks between the two!

Q: What books are currently on your nightstand?


A: I am making my way through some great YA and women’s fiction novels right now—Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley, The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab, and Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Q: Lastly, we have to ask – what are you working on next? (We heard that a sequel to Tokyo Ever After might already be in the works!) Without giving too much away, can you give readers any hints as to what they can expect from your next book?


A: I don’t think I can say too much other than there will be a second Tokyo Ever After book. I promise more romance, more kissing, and more royal romps!

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