Title: Tokyo Dreaming (Tokyo Ever After #2)
Author: Emiko Jean
Publisher: Flat Iron Books
Review Copy: Purchased
Availability: Available now
Summary: 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.
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: Earlier in the year I read Emiko Jean’s Tokyo Ever After and fell in love with it. It was such a beautiful story of a teen on the brink of adulthood, trying to figure out what she wants for her life, with a huge complication thrown in – she learns that her father is the Crown Prince of Japan. Suddenly she has all these new, strict I might add, expectations thrown on her while she navigates an entirely new culture and a new relationship with her father. It was such a great coming of age story, mixed in with a romance, that felt very real with a main character you couldn’t help but love. When I realized the sequel was coming out, I was excited because I wanted to continue with Izumi’s story. I was not disappointed.
Tokyo Dreaming begins just a few weeks after the end of Tokyo Ever After with Izumi and her mother living in Japan. For the first time in her life, Izumi has the feeling of family that she’s always wanted with her parents and is enjoying her summer, while expectations loom in the background. When her parents engagement hits a snag, Izumi takes on the responsibility to help her mother be accepted in the court, as her mother is now experiencing the same difficulties Izumi experienced in Tokyo Ever After. I love YA stories where parents are present and have a good relationship with their children, so Izumi deciding to “change” herself for her parents’ happiness touched me. Izumi finally got the sense of belonging, sense of family that she always wanted therefore she was willing to do anything to keep it. This included exploring college even though she didn’t want to, learning to understanding her cousins, and even participating in a fake dating scheme (Yes! One of my favorite tropes). Izumi feels that she is very immature and unfocused, but deciding to make sacrifices in order to save her family is a very mature decision and one of the reasons why I like her so much. Izumi may come off sometimes as self-serving but ultimately she wants happiness for her mother and when her mother breaks from the pressure of it all, Izumi drops everything and is the rock her mother needs. Izumi does have a wonderful heart as even when she is forced to spend time with her “bratty” cousins, she actually opens herself to learning about them and the three begin to forge a wonderful friendship. In Tokyo Ever After Izumi learned and grew so much that Tokyo Dreaming shows the results of that growth, that leads her to make, mostly, very mature decisions and learn more about her inner strength along the way.
While Izumi’s story “feels” complete at this time and while I don’t know if Emiko Jean plans to write another book, I hoping that she does because Izumi is a wonderful character and I would love to see what adventures she has next.