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My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

ARC received from Netgalley for a fair review.
Publish date: December 18, 2018

 

 

On Elle’s 16th birthday, the father she never knew sends for her to be retrieved from foster care where she has been since her mother’s incarceration. She is whisked away to a life in Tokyo, Japan where she gets the cinderella life she never imagined. But all the glamour falls short as she struggle to adjusts to the customs of Japan and the distance she still has from her new found father.

The Story

Despite my 3 star placing this book right in the middle, I was beyond disappointed by this book. I expected a fun ya contemporary in Japan. Yes we got a YA contemporary in Japan, but half the book felt like a long Japanese culture and etiquette handbook in disguise. At the halfway point, the only thing that had really happened was that Elle had gotten to Japan. The real story really didn’t take off till 70%. Up to that point was spent mostly on factoids about Japan. So a majority of the book was establishing just the slight bit of culture shock, no real movement in the plot. On top of all that, when the ending came through I felt like it wrapped up way too quickly, and still left a few loose ends. Also, somehow the story left off with only adults making any real mistakes, no real correction for the actions of the main character.

The Characters

I really didn’t like Elle. Despite knowing all that she had gone through, I somehow didn’t find myself sympathizing with her as she was pulled out of her awful situation that she managed to adjust to, and yet still had a negative outlook to new circumstances. She made all the adults out to be the bad guys, and while her actions came out that she was coming to terms with her new lifestyle, she didn’t really make much effort to understand the people she was now family with. She just expected them to understand her because she was the child, and that since they were the adults they had to be the bigger people. While often times there was a awed fascination of the Japanese culture, I felt an underlying negative vibe as Elle learned about it.

The Soundtrack

あいみょん – マリーゴールド   (Aimyon – Marigold)

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