Fans of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Lost in Translation will find good company in this whirlwind romance set in Tokyo.
Born in Japan to a Polish-American mother and French father (now divorced), white high schooler Sophia Wachowski has spent her life crossing continents to set up home. After spending the last four years in Tokyo among other expat teens from a variety of countries, Sophia is New Jersey–bound, as her professor mother must return to Rutgers. What should be her last week of simply hanging out with best friends is interrupted by the return of Jamie Foster-Collins, the American white boy who used to have a crush on her and left three years earlier to attend boarding school in the U.S. In just one week, things get messy among friends: secrets, betrayals, and unresolved feelings are revealed. But things also get interesting with Jamie: awkward tension gives way to romance. Sophia’s countdown watch enhances the intensity, reminding her (and readers) that she has little time to fall in love. The plot can be predictable, but weaving in and out of Tokyo’s karaoke rooms, coffee shops, night clubs, monuments, and food, food, and more food, the story still delights. Issues of belonging, siblings, divorce, sexuality, and memories of the past add depth to Sophia’s romantic struggles.
Have some tissues handy for the ending. (Fiction. 14-18)