Review by Booklist Review
High-school senior Kimi Nakamura is a whiz at whipping up Kimi Originals from thrift store clothing and fabric remnants, but her mother, a Japanese artist, wants Kimi to be a painter. When she drops her Advanced Fine Arts class, it ignites a terrible fight with her parents. Then an invitation arrives for Kimi to visit her grandparents in Kyoto, which she decides is the perfect opportunity to clear her head. Meeting her obaasan and ojiisan for the first time is awkward, but culture shock truly sets in when a cute boy named Akira offers to be her guide. Akira works at his uncle's mochi shop but dreams of being a doctor, and he's determined to help Kimi realize her true passion, too. Kimi is an adorable, lovable narrator who battles obstacles bravely from learning the subtleties of Japanese culture to falling in love to fully embracing her own art. The food and cherry blossoms, ornate temples, and vivid colors make Kimi's first trip to Japan a joyous journey of self-realization, empowerment, and artistic fulfillment.--Jeanne Fredriksen Copyright 2019 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Culver City High School senior Kimi Nakamura has her life mapped out. Next year, she will attend Liu Fine Arts Academy, her next step to becoming a "Great Asian American Artist," as her artist mother has always intended. But after feeling blocked from painting, Kimi secretly drops out of Advanced Fine Art and focuses her energy, instead, on designing and creating clothes. After her mom learns about the dropped class, a well-timed invitation to visit her estranged maternal grandparents in Kyoto over spring break is the reprieve Kimi needs to recalibrate her relationship with her mom and explore her true artistic passions. And sparks fly when "Kimi from America" meets "Akira. From Japan," who is dressed as an anthropomorphized mochi to sell his uncle's handcrafted treats. This novel offers a unique perspective of Japanese culture from the experiences of a fifth-generation Japanese-American protagonist. Kuhn (the Heroine Complex series), herself of Japanese ancestry, peppers the novel with Japanese phrases, foods, and cultural specifics. Readers of all backgrounds will connect with the universal themes and insights into teenage first love in this charming rom-com. Ages 12--up. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary Agency. (June)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-All is not well in the world of Kimiko Nakamura. It's the second half of her senior year, and Kimi's already been accepted to a prestigious art school where she will pursue her (and her mom's) dream of becoming an artist-definitely not the ideal time to realize that painting is no longer her passion. Kimi would rather design and create exciting fashions for herself and her friends than worry about her future. The revelation drives a wedge between her and her mother, so Kimi accepts an unexpected invitation from her estranged grandparents to visit them in Japan for spring break. There she meets Akira, a handsome mascot for his uncle's mochi business. He pledges to help Kimi discover her true passion as they explore Kyoto and their growing feelings for each other. The setting, replete with blooming cherry trees, delicious food, and a culture that is at once familiar and foreign to Kimi, is a perfect backdrop for her musings on identity, family, and purpose. Kimi's developing relationship with her grandparents, through which she begins to understand both herself and her mother in a new light, is particularly touching and well told in this YA debut. VERDICT Deliver to readers who crave frothy, clean romance as sweet as mochi with a heaping side of satisfying self-discovery.-Darla Salva Cruz, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
California girl Kimi is visiting her grandparents in Japan over spring break. On the trip, she learns more about her family, discovers a direction for her future--and finds romance with a guy who wears a mochi costume. Although readers will recognize Kimi's passion--fashion--long before she does, they'll be drawn in by the setting and Kimi's enthusiastic narration. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A disheartened teen takes a trip to Japan to find her true passion.Japanese-American high school senior Kimi Nakamura's future is planned out: become a great Asian-American artist. But painting is her mom's dream. Kimi enjoys designing bold outfits that make her feel like the ultimate version of herself. After fighting with her mom, Kimi is eager to accept a surprise invitation to visit her estranged grandparents in Kyoto over spring break. With a fourth-generation Japanese-American father and a Japanese mother, the country offers her many familiar foods and customs but also a completely foreign culture. With its beautiful sights, Kyoto is the perfect place to find herself. It also helps that Akira, a cute boy, offers to be her guide. What begins as an escape from reality becomes Kimi's path to developing insights into her mother's past and her own future. Kuhn (Heroine's Journey, 2018, etc.) has brought together travel, fashion, food, romance, and family to create an incredibly sweet and heartwarming coming-of-age romantic comedy. Weaving in Japanese vocabulary and slang, she also subtly addresses racism and differences between Japanese and Japanese-American cultures. She explores the struggle of discovering one's familial and cultural history and how it shapes who one becomes. Strong characters and a story with real depth make this a worthy read.Readers will love this teen rom-com so mochi. (Fiction. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.