Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Emiko Jean
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: May 18th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
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 Izzy 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, Izzy 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.
Izzy 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 fairytale, happily ever after?
A NEW FAVORITE GEM.
I don’t know why I DNF this book the first time I picked it up, because it was AMAZING. OH MY GOODNESS. Maybe the audio really brought it to life to me, I just know everyone else needs to read this too.
Izumi was one of the best YA main characters I’ve ever read. I adored her positive outlook and her pure nature. She was kind to everyone around her and not afraid to apologize, learn, and do better. Izumi was passionate about learning her Japanese heritage and I liked the conversations about being Asian-American in the US and balancing cultures as she lived in Japan.
Talk about an absolutely PRECIOUS romance between the princess and bodyguard!! It was everything. I loved all of the tiny moments they got together, that ending had me absolutely swooning and I just couldn’t get enough.
Also, Izumi’s Dad was amazing??? I had big fears he was going to be closed-off, upset, whatever it may be after finding out about having a daughter. BUT NO, HE WAS SO WONDERFUL. I loved the way he loved Izumi and how they both worked through getting to know one another and all that entails as a parent/child relationship.
I could truly keep going. I have nothing but good things to say about this absolute gem and will be talking it up for awhile.
Overall audience notes:
- YA Contemporary + Romance
- Language: very little
- Romance: kisses
- Trigger/Content Warnings: bullying, racism, stereotyping