Review: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

Review: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel CohnTitle: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life
Author: Rachel Cohn
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: December 18, 2018

four-stars
Summary (from Goodreads):

"I'm here to take you to live with your father. In Tokyo, Japan! Happy birthday!"

In the Land of the Rising Sun, where high culture meets high kitsch, and fashion and technology are at the forefront of the First World's future, the foreign-born teen elite attend ICS-the International Collegiate School of Tokyo. Their accents are fluid. Their homes are ridiculously posh. Their sports games often involve a (private) plane trip to another country. They miss school because of jet lag and visa issues. When they get in trouble, they seek diplomatic immunity.

Enter foster-kid-out-of-water Elle Zoellner, who, on her sixteenth birthday discovers that her long-lost father, Kenji Takahari, is actually a Japanese hotel mogul and wants her to come live with him. Um, yes, please! Elle jets off first class from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, which seems like a dream come true. Until she meets her enigmatic father, her way-too-fab aunt, and her hyper-critical grandmother, who seems to wish Elle didn't exist. In an effort to please her new family, Elle falls in with the Ex-Brats, a troupe of uber-cool international kids who spend money like it's air. But when she starts to crush on a boy named Ryuu, who's frozen out by the Brats and despised by her new family, her already tenuous living situation just might implode.

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is about learning what it is to be a family, and finding the inner strength to be yourself, even in the most extreme circumstances.

Amazon | Book Depository

❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review

Any book about Japan or private school is a win for me, so My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn was an instant must-read. The book is both entertaining and emotional, and the main character is likeable. I especially loved reading the descriptions of Tokyo. This is a fun read that is also informative.

This book tells the story of a girl who is sent off to Tokyo after her father suddenly appears in her life. I was surprised at the number of social issues tackled in the book such as addiction and the foster care system. As well, there is a big theme of family throughout the story which is so heartwarming to read. Honestly, the plot is pretty clichéd, but I still found the book to be enjoyable.

I really enjoyed the main character in the book, Elle. She is strong and resilient, and she really transforms as the story progresses. Her actions are realistic for her age, and she is relatable as she tries to fit in at her new school. What I especially enjoyed about her is the fact that she faces so much hardship but doesn’t ever complain. One thing that can ruin a book for me is a whiny main character, so I was glad to see that trait absent in Elle.

Of course, one of the main things that drew me to this story was the Tokyo setting, and I loved the way the setting is described. It is so interesting to learn about the culture and social norms in Japan along with Elle. The city really comes to life in the book, and I personally think that Cohn’s depiction does it justice. Just reading about the bustling metropolis had me dying to visit Tokyo!

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is a sweet story about family and adapting to a new lifestyle. I enjoyed the main character and the descriptions of Japan. I would recommend this one to those looking for something short and sweet.

About Rachel Cohn

Image of Rachel Cohn

Rachel grew up in the D.C. area and graduated from Barnard College with a B.A. in Political Science. She has written many YA novels, including three that she cowrote with her friend and colleague David Levithan. She lives and writes (when she's not reading other people's books, organizing her music library or looking for the best cappuccino) in New York City.


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