[Review] Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

3 Things About This Book : The Princess Diaries Vibes but Asian | Fluffy Romance | Feel-Good Book |

tokyo ever after by emiko jean book coverTokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Series: Tokyo Ever After, #1
Published: 2021 by Macmillan Children’s Books
Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Book Depository

3 stars

I’m gonna start off by admitting that The Princess Diaries has never really been right up my alley so I wasn’t all that excited to read Tokyo Ever After. But, now that I’m done, I see that it’s one of those a feel-good reads where it’s easy to be proud of the main character’s triumphs and to just allow yourself to be engrossed in the positives happening. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that I love the book, though it also means that I didn’t hate it.

Tokyo Ever After has a lot of potential to be an amazing contemporary YA read for me, but it falls short in three main ways:

  1. I personally don’t like how the “not X race enough or Y race enough” thing is done in a lot of contemporary YA books because most of the time, it is only done in the limiting perspective of a singular lens.

    In Tokyo Ever After, the topic is better explored when it comes to Izumi’s opinions and such but the way Japanese side of things were portrayed didn’t feel authentic enough. In fact, it feels very much like the author has never visited the country and if they did, then it felt like they didn’t stay long enough to pick up things. There was just a lot of little mentions that seemed inconsequential on their own but when you add them up, they show a portrayal of a country through tinted glasses.

  2. The characters are flat and many relationships feel rushed/shallow, including the romance between Izumi and her bodyguard. Sure, I was rooting for them, but I was also cringing over how cliché their relationship is. Moreover, it didn’t help that many of the secondary characters seem to be there just to accentuate or draw attention to certain qualities Izumi has.
  3. The plot is so typical of a feel-good book, I didn’t even need to read the entire book to know how the story goes (though, I did and I confirmed that I was right in my guesses). It’s the usual, wow, I’m actually special but oh no, I’m not ready to be that kind of special and I actually like who I was before everyone knew why I was special! type of story. When done right, I will 100000% fangirl and fight for everyone to read the book. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough substance here and a lot of the resolutions are just….’meh’.

All the above problems aside, I can see the appeal in Tokyo Ever After, particularly for those who are fans of fluffy romances and those who can completely suspend their disbelief when reading. Once I got over debating the realities of the situations Izumi found herself in, Tokyo Ever After became a fun and quick read. It also helped that I really enjoyed the narrative style.

Thank you so much Pansing for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review! Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean is available at all good bookstores.

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