I absolutely loved Emiko Jeans writing style. If you’re in the mood for a big laugh every now and then, READ THIS BOOK. Seriously.

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?

Great sense of humor

Right from the first chapter, you will not fail to notice how incredibly hilarious Emiko Jean’s writing style is. We are introduced to the delightfully witty Izumi – or as her mother calls her; Zoom Zoom – who regularly voices her uninhibited, sarcastic opinion on certain matters. In any case, I laughed my butt off at times, and I believe you will too.

Princess Diaries vs Japan turns out to be a good combination

Ah… Tokyo ever after brought me back to my anime/manga period. I am therefore not ashamed to say that I certainly understood a large part of the Japanese words/phrases quoted in the book. Secretly I read the story through a ‘manga lens’, and in my head enjoyed it 10x more than I had thought before I started reading. Witty lead character, hilarious friends, smelly dog, stern – and incredibly handsome – bodyguard, cool mother, socially-awkward father, a crazy cousin and devious twin nieces. All in the atmosphere of Tokyo and Kyoto, while we can enjoy how Izumi enjoys her doriyaki (I want some too!).

Asks for more

It was such a cute romance that it felt a little flat to me at the end. If I have to mention one point of criticism, this is it. And no, of course the story isn’t groundbreaking-super-duper-original. It’s full of cliches. But… if you’ve read any of my reviews, you know I’m a sucker for clichés. Yes, I more or less saw/predicted the end coming, but that didn’t make me enjoy the story less. It’s just not clear to me yet… Is this a standalone, or can we expect more? Basically the story is finished. But the characters are too cute not to make a sequel. Time will tell…

Title: Tokyo ever after
Author: Emiko Jean
Published: 18 mei 2021
Pages: 336
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Rating: 4.5/5