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First Look Club: Jody reviews Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean

First Look Club: Jody reviews Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean


By Emiko Jean

Publication date: May 31, 2022

Reviewed by Jody Uy

Imagine this: You’ve just discovered that your non-existent father is apparently the Crown Prince of Japan. You reach out to him and are whisked away to live the fairytale princess life—tiptoeing around your newfound family, struggling against unforgiving press, learning which is the salad fork, and figuring out where you really belong.

Such was the life of one Izumi Tanaka. She was a highschool senior when the events of Tokyo Ever After first played out. Having somewhat adjusted to life in the Imperial Palace, she now faces even larger decisions in Tokyo Dreaming that concern not only her future but her family’s too. Her parents are madly in love with each other, but the Imperial Household Council opposes the relationship because of her mother’s lack of “proper breeding” and Izumi’s own questionable (aka unorthodox) actions in the past several months. In order to give her mother a happily ever after, Izumi decides to take matters into her own hands and become the perfect princess Japan expects of her.

Ever After

As mentioned, Tokyo Dreaming is a sequel and is best appreciated after reading the first book, Tokyo Ever After. A lot of the things previously established are built on and explored further in this second book. It picks up shortly where the first left off, and we see Izumi slowly tie together the loose threads of her supposed fairytale happily ever after. We’re by her side as she continues to square off against the unrelenting press, as she studies to make it into university, as she tries on dress after dress, and as she deepens her relationships with members of the Imperial Family.

“Family is what you make it”

While Tokyo Ever After felt to me like a book about belonging, Tokyo Dreaming is about choices. Izumi is pushed to decide once and for all the kind of life she wishes to live. Will she go to university as everyone expects her to? What school will she attend? What course will she take? Will she pursue a relationship with the boy who Japan disapproves of? How much of herself is she willing to give for her family? As she walks down the very Princess Diaries-esque lane, she struggles to do good by her family and fulfill her responsibilities as part of royalty.

Tokyo Dreaming is a seamless sequel that those who enjoyed the first book will be glad to pick up. I particularly liked how everything came together at the climax of the book. Certain questions I had at the end of Tokyo Ever After came rushing to the forefront and it was satisfying to see Izumi pull the threads of her story taut and to a close. My only tiny little gripe with the book is that I felt the ending was a tad bit rushed. I would’ve liked to see more of how they managed to deal with everything post-climax, but I suppose that’s not really what matters in the grander scheme of things (especially with regards to the message of the book).

All in all, Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean is a fun, funny, and romantic read—light enough to page through in your down time or in between tasks, but weighty enough to keep you wanting more.

Jody is discovering everyday the greatest bits about reading and learning that fuel our thinking. When she’s not drowning in readings for class, she drowns herself in music, books, and the wonders of the Internet. You can find her on Instagram @ohfishness.

[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]

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