quotes Elisquared likes

"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green


BLOG TOUR --- My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn [Review + Giveaway]

Title: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life
Authors(s): Rachel Cohn
Publication Date: December 18, 2018
Edition: Hardcover, ebook; 384 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon - Barnes & 
Noble - iBooks - The Book Depository

Tour Schedule

Week One:
12/3/2018- Novel NoviceExcerpt
12/4/2018- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
12/5/2018- A Court of Coffee and BooksExcerpt
12/6/2018- BookHounds YAReview
12/7/2018- A Gingerly ReviewReview

Week Two:
12/10/2018- RhythmicbooktrovertReview
12/11/2018- Do You Dog-ear?Review
12/12/2018- A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt
12/13/2018- Daily WaffleExcerpt
12/14/2018- The Reading Corner for AllReview

Week Three:
12/17/2018- Lisa Loves LiteratureReview
12/18/2018- Eli to the nthReview (ME!)
12/19/2018- Dani Reviews ThingsReview
12/20/2018- The Pages In-BetweenReview
12/21/2018- Sincerely Karen Jo BlogReview

Week Four:
12/24/2018- Falling For YAInterview
12/25/2018- Smada's Book SmackReview
12/26/2018- All the Ups and DownsExcerpt
12/27/2018- Confessions of a YA ReaderReview
12/28/2018- Wishful EndingsExcerpt

Week Five:
Under the Book CoverExcerpt

The Summary

"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.

My Review

I have been a Rachel Cohn fan for quite a while, so I was thrilled when I got to be a part of the blog tour for her latest book, My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life.  It contains so many things I love: private school, Japanese culture, and a sassy main character.  But above all, this is a story about family and finding out where you belong; something everyone can relate to in some way.

This book examines a lot of tough subjects: alcoholism, substance abuse, absentee parents, and cultural acclimation.  But what Cohn does so well, is weave those tough subjects with funny or sweet moments, much like real life.  So you get a good balance of intense subject matter with a light contemporary, so when you're reading, you feel for the characters, but you're never weighted down.  I think there is a time and place for those hard hitting contemporaries, but I must admit I prefer my drama with some humor and romance.

Elle is a great main character: she's funny, smart, and adaptable. You click with her right away, and get invested in what happens to her.  Elle was the main reason I blasted through this book so fast (while that's the hope for a main character, honestly sometimes it's the supporting cast that makes a book sing).  I will say that Elle was the most developed, but as this is her story I didn't find that to be an issue.  So while the supporting characters contain some layers, they are there to help Elle along in her journey.  Of course, Elle isn't perfect.  She makes some dicey decisions friend group-wise when she gets to Japan, but in her situation I find that totally believable.  I think the best way to describe Elle is as a girl you'd want to be friends with.

The school Elle attends is like something out of your wildest private school dreams.  I know when I was growing up, I wanted to go some place magical and exclusive, and the International Collegiate School of Tokyo delivered.  Competitive and exclusive, Elle has to really hustle to keep up with her classmates, but she succeeds on catching up.  Of course, she shines on the swim team, putting some balance into her life.  Here Cohn highlights the hierarchy of such a school, with the "Ex-Brats" running the show, and Elle trying to fit in.  While the setting isn't somewhere typical teens go, the social dynamics will definitely resonate.

Finally, one of my favorite parts of the book was the setting.  Taking place in Japan, specifically Tokyo, you get to see the city through Elle's eyes: the busy parts and the quiet parts.  The difference between American and Japanese culture are highlighted, showing both the good and the bad.  Elle's fraternal relatives see her as not part of the family, and remind her that she is both hafu (“half Japanese, half something else”) and gaijin (a foreigner).  But while they don't accept her, the "ex-Brats" and other students at Elle's school show her the welcoming parts of Tokyo.  If you don't want to visit Tokyo and Japan after this book, I don't know what will convince you.

The only issue I had with the book was the pacing.  Over half of the book is just setting Elle up in Japan, and then it all kind of fast-forwards, with the resolution coming together much to quickly to feel as genuine as it could.  Luckily, as this is more a character-driven story, the plot being rushed doesn't negate the enjoyment of the story.

A great mix of sweet and dramatic, My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life delivers a good read.  Out today, go pick up a copy!

Final Rating

About the Author

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.


3 Winners will receive a finished copy of My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life, US Only.

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