TOKYO EVER AFTER by EMIKO JEAN
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
When I first saw the cover for Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean, I knew I had to read it. I mean, come on. Look at it. It’s gorgeous. Once I read the synopsis of the book, however, I was completely hooked. Pitched as The Princess Diaries meets Crazy Rich Asians, Tokyo Ever After is about eighteen-year-old Izumi who, after some snooping in her mom’s bedroom, discovers that her father is the prince of Japan, making her an imperial princess in the oldest monarchy in the world. It’s a very simple concept and I loved every second of it.
First of all, I will gobble up anything that’s compared to The Princess Diaries. Both movies are comfort watches for me. Any time I’m having a bad day, I watch those movies and feel instantly better. (Side Note: I haven’t read the books though…I should do that). I’m also a huge fan of Crazy Rich Asians (seriously, it’s amazing), so I just knew I would love this book. And I did. Tokyo Ever After is bursting with heart. Izumi is a great main character, and her relationship with her mom and all her friends is very reminiscent of Mia’s relationships in The Princess Diaries. This is not a bad thing by any stretch.
Being born and raised in Mount Shasta, California, however, has given Izumi–or Zoom Zoom, as her mom calls her–a unique outlook on life. She’s a Japanese-American girl in a mostly white town, and she’s thrown for a fish-out-of-water loop when she gets to Japan. She’s not good at being a princess and she struggles with life in the imperial palace, as well as life in greater Japanese society. Through it all. Izumi keeps her sense of humor and it makes her a fun character to read about as she adjusts to life as a princess.
Of course, there’s also a hot bodyguard named Akio to serve as Izumi’s love interest. I was especially excited about this since The Bodyguard with Whitney Houston is one of my favorite movies. However, if there’s one thing I’m disappointed about in this novel, it’s sadly the romance. I love love love the idea of a bodyguard romance, but it felt very rushed. One minute, Akio and Izumi hated each other and the next, they didn’t. I liked what romance there was, but I wished there was more of it. It does appear we’re going to get a sequel, though, so perhaps that will satiate my need for a good romance!\
All in all, I really enjoyed Tokyo Ever After. Yes, it’s riddled with tropes that veer into cliche territory, but I didn’t really care/ This book was so fun and sweet and the perfect summer getaway–especially if you’re looking to go to Japan without actually going to Japan.
You can pick up our copy of Tokyo Ever After at the Argenta library today!