I’m just going to say it: I am in love with this book. This book needs to be a series so that I don’t have to say goodbye to these awesome, lovable characters yet. Tokyo Ever After was blurbed as an #Own Voices triumph inspired by The Princess Diaries, which is one of the reasons that I picked this book up. I’m a sucker for the normal-girl-is-actually a princess narrative. So this book was highly anticipated for me and did not disappoint. It had all of the good bits: forbidden romance, wanderlust-satisfying descriptions of Tokyo, and of course the princess narrative. It is 100% swoon worthy, fast-paced and un-puttdownable.
Swoon – Worthy Romance
The heat level of this romance is light, but I liked the sweetness of it. Akio and Izumi start out as enemies, but slowly, they discover that they have more things in common than they think. Also, the whole hot bodyguard romance thing is just so… steamy. Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned forbidden romance? The sneaking around is fun and exciting, but also Akio is everything that I expect from a romantic lead — smart, surly and handsome.
Let’s Hear it for the Girls
A,though the romance between Akio and Izumi is fun, I also appreciated that the narrative features a smart, funny heroine (Izumi), who shows a lot of depth in her reactions to characters and situations. I loved rooting for Izumi, as she discovered new dimensions of herself. I think the best part of Izumi’s transformation is that it feels so relatable—even if you aren’t part Japanese and part American.
I also thought that Izumi’s relationship with her father, the Prince, was sweet. I liked that her dad is supportive and genuinely wants to get to know her, because it makes the conflict feel more internal and focused on Izumi, making it clear that this is her story, not anyone else’s.
Villain, or Not?
My one teensy weensy issue is with a certain semi-villainous character who shall not be named. I really liked this character, and the turnaround at the end felt kind of sudden. Based on how this character behaved throughout the book, it felt a little out of the blue. In the scene where Izumi confronts they-who-shall-not-be-named, the logic made sense, but the scene felt disjointed from the rest of this girl-power, fun, flirty read. Of course, none of this casts any real shadow on this glowing triumph of an extremely awesome, obsessively compelling YA read.
If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Tokyo Ever After, you need to pick one up ASAP. Trust me when I say that this book will make all of your YA summer reading dreams come true.