With works like Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Pop Princess, author Rachel Cohn has firmly established herself in the world of young adult literature. In her latest work, My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life, Cohn captured the essence of a contemporary American teenage girl who is trying to find her way in the world and fend for herself in a foster system that cannot begin to measure with her mother's care. After facing bulling, mistreatment from her foster parents, and her inability to forgive her mother's incarceration because of the Beast, Elle Zoellner's is driven by the need to overcome this unfortunate phase of her life. Then, on her sixteenth birthday she receives some unexpected news. Her estranged father is a Japanese hotel mogul who wants her to live with him in Tokyo. After her mother expresses her wishes for Elle to have a better life than the one she can provide for her at the moment, Elle decides to take a leap into the unknown.
Cohn described the cultural assimilation process with insight, wit, and detailed observations that will leave readers dreaming of Tokyo skyscrapers. My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life was a comedic gem with Elle's humorous forefront that had me smiling and laughing out loud from the very beginning. I found myself really connecting with Elle's experiences and struggles with learning customs from a different country. When I was seventeen, I was accepted into a university in England and, after a lot of thought and emotional support from my parents, I moved to England and lived on my own for six years. While American English and British English slightly differ, I was thankful that we at least didn't have a language barrier and we could form the basis of a conversation.
Because of my experiences, I was just delighted with Elle's narrative and how inclusive Cohn was in describing all of Elle's capers from learning different kinds of bowing to eating a bowl of ramen (not of the instant noodle variety). I'd rate My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life as a five star read because it is a very charming story that captured Elle's exploration of identity and depiction of family dynamics. My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life delves into the energetic spirit of young adult literature that will appeal to fans of Mia Thermopolis from Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries.
My Almost Flawless
Tokyo Dream Life
by Rachel Cohn
Pub. Date: December 18, 2018
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Goodreads, Amazon, B&N,
"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.
Rachel Cohn is the bestselling, award-winning author of many books. She lives in Los Angeles with two very cool cats named McNulty and Bunk.
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My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life
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