• Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Tokyo Ever After Book Cover Tokyo Ever After
Emiko Jean
Young Adult Fiction
Flatiron Books
May 25th, 2021

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 Izumi 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, Izumi 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.

Izumi 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 fairy tale, happily ever after?

“Hello, consequences of my own actions. We meet again, old friend.”

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean is perfect. Period. No debate. End of Story. This was the first review I was terrified to write as there is no combination of words I can conjure to do this book justice. By the end of the first chapter I had highlighted two pages of quotes that could rival the best Gilmore Girl quips. I read as slowly as I could because I didn’t want the first time I read this book to end too quickly.

Our leading lady Izumi has grown up in Northern California and has always felt out of place as a Japanese-American in a mostly white community.  Her mom and girl posse, who have proudly adopted the name of her Asian Girl Gang, are the only connection to her roots. One day a mysterious clue found in a book leads Izumi to the truth about her absent Father… he’s a prince! With zero time to process her newfound lineage she is whisked away to Japan to meet the family she didn’t know she was missing, who just so happen to Royal. She quickly realizes that her life in California did not prepare her for royal protocols as she struggles to live up to her new title of Her Imperial Highness Izumi. Between princess lessons, learning how to adapt to a new culture and performing her royal duties she’s left feeling discouraged about creating a meaningful relationship with her Father. Her new bodyguard Akio however, is the perfect combination of grumpy, handsome, and even a little funny? She’s able to find comfort in teasing her loyal protector as she struggles to grasp the new reality of her royal-ness.

The blurb for Tokyo Ever After sounded adorable, but I was not expecting to be completely overwhelmed with my love for this book. Emiko Jean masterfully blended a meaningful story about the daughter of an immigrant discovering her culture and a reluctant romance between an inexperienced royal and her faithful bodyguard. These are both story-lines that can inspire epic tales, but together they were pure magic. Izumi was so relatable in her desperation to belong within the different communities she found herself but it was her unwavering strength despite her mistakes that makes her so much fun to root for. The playful sparring between her and Akio as their relationship blurs lines between professional and romantic is swoon worthy and I would be completely surprised if Akio doesn’t move to the top of many Favorite Book-Boyfriend Lists.

I was lucky enough to read Tokyo Ever After months before it’s release and it had been killing me that other people haven’t been able to read it yet to gush with me! So PLEASE! Read this and report back how much you loved it because I know you will!