Apparently, I’m a fan of modern royalty stories?
Title: Tokyo Dreaming
Author: Emiko Jean
Genre: YA Romance
Publication Date: May 31st, 2022
Return to Tokyo for a royal wedding in Emiko Jean’s Tokyo Dreaming, the sequel to the Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller Tokyo Ever After
When Japanese-American Izumi Tanaka learned her father was the Crown Prince of Japan, she became a princess overnight. Now, she’s overcome conniving cousins, salacious press, and an imperial scandal to finally find a place she belongs. She has a perfect bodyguard turned boyfriend. Her stinky dog, Tamagotchi, is living with her in Tokyo. Her parents have even rekindled their college romance and are engaged. A royal wedding is on the horizon! Izumi’s life is a Tokyo dream come true.
Her parents’ engagement hits a brick wall. The Imperial Household Council refuses to approve the marriage citing concerns about Izumi and her mother’s lack of pedigree. And on top of it all, her bodyguard turned boyfriend makes a shocking decision about their relationship. At the threat of everything falling apart, Izumi vows to do whatever it takes to help win over the council. Which means upping her newly acquired princess game.
But at what cost? Izumi will do anything to help her parents achieve their happily ever after, but what if playing the perfect princess means sacrificing her own? Will she find a way to forge her own path and follow her heart?
I bought the first book, Tokyo Ever After, last year and once I learned it was going to be a duology I decided to wait to read it until closer to the sequel’s release date. Both books were a breath of fresh air.
The first book introduced readers to Izumi, Japanese-American who learned that her absent father was actually the Prince of Japan and had no idea she existed. Next thing she knows, Izumi is whisked away to Japan to meet a family she doesn’t know, but maybe finally find the missing piece to her personal history. Scandal, a hate-to-love romance with her grumpy personal security guard Akio, and too many rules to keep track of, Izumi finally starts to adapt to this new life.
Cut to sequel: Tokyo Dreaming. After a whirlwind summer, Izumi is back in Japan surrounded by love from her sweet and stoic boyfriend, and her parents who have rekindled their college love and plan to marry. Next thing she knows, she’s been dumped by her boyfriend—”for her own good”—and people are questioning her parents engagement. Izumi decides to throw herself into her new princess duties, including procuring a tutor who happens to be funny and charismatic—basically the opposite of her ex.
This was really fun and a wonderful continuation in Izumi’s story and character development. I enjoyed her journey with trying to find her passions in life. It’s one thing to think you’re disappointing your parents when you’re unsure about your future, it’s another thinking you’re disappointing an entire country. Izumi takes on a lot for the happiness of her family. I missed the great contrast we get with Izumi and Akio, but I think the struggle their relationship went through was good in the end. I loved getting to know more of her family, especially the twins—they had more depth than what we were first shown in Tokyo Ever After.
This may have lagged a little in parts, but in all I think this is an excellent sequel to a wonderful duology that highlights Asian voices and culture.
ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.