If you speak and think like the character then you’ll get past that barrier, but you’ll still have to deal with how subpar the story overall is
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 Izumi 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, Izumi 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.
Izumi 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 fairy tale, happily ever after?
My two main issues with this book were the character herself and the fact that nothing new was brought to the table with this story. The second issue is self explanatory, but the first is more specific to me.
Izumi speaks like people 15-25 sound on social media. The kind of writing I usually cringe at despite being around that age myself. It’s full of the overly dramatic writing style of Instagram and Twitter and tumblr. I hated it, which made me dislike her, which made me not enjoy the book. I also called the “twist” right from the introduction of a character. Meh.
It’s definitely a character established, but I kept thinking she was maybe 14 or 15. When she went out drinking and got pretty smashed, it seemed like an odd choice, but unfortunately not all that unbelievable. It wasn’t until she started a relationship with a 20 year old that I was like, okay hold up HOW OLD IS SHE? (17.)
To the other point that this book just didn’t do much, it took me DAYS to read this. It should have taken maybe 3 hours. It just didn’t hold me, and I kept putting it down after reading the grating slang and whatnot. God I feel old writing that, but when a character in the middle of a conversation said “Noah Fence” and then went on with the conversation I had to stop for several minutes to figure out who TF this character was, how I missed them, why they were being brought up…
Until I realized (I think) that it means “no offense,” which then annoyed me further because that didn’t even make sense in the context of the sentence. So I put it down for a day, came back and skimmed a lot of the non-plot elements like description, and finished it while trying not to taste it too much.
I think I’m especially unhappy here because I had such high hopes. I feel like this could have been so good, but it wasn’t, not for me. I want someone else to write this story, but differently, so I can actually enjoy it.