This YA novel stars a teen runaway in Tokyo who befriends a girl able to control the weather.
Sixteen-year-old Hodaka Morishima is on a ferry to Tokyo after fleeing his island home. As he wonders about supporting himself over the summer in the city, the ferry tilts. A man named Keisuke Suga saves him from falling overboard. Suga’s business card says he’s the CEO of K&A Planning. In the beautiful yet downpour-cursed Tokyo, Hodaka briefly lives out of a manga cafe while he can afford it. Eating soup in a McDonald’s, he earns the pity of an enchanting teen employee who gives him a free burger. When Hodaka tracks down Suga, the man is based in a run-down shop, creating content for a magazine called Mu. Suga and his college student niece, Natsumi, hire Hodaka as an intern. His assignment is researching “sun women” who can manipulate the weather. Hodaka’s life changes when the trail leads to 18-year-old Hina Amano, the McDonald’s employee who helped him. As her power to part the clouds proves reliable, she and Hodaka begin helping citizens who want sunny days—for a fee. But the girl’s miraculous ability comes at a cost to herself. Shinkai’s (Your Name., 2017) novel is an adaptation of his anime film of the same name. Tokyo, made more alluring by an eerie, constant rainfall, is “like a box garden crammed with all kinds of different places.” The first-person perspective jumps between Hodaka, Suga, and Natsumi, the last being quite sunny herself in that she “doesn't reject anybody...doesn’t act different depending on who she’s talking to.” Loss and the urgency of life become main themes as readers learn that Suga is a widower and the orphaned Hina cares for herself and her younger brother, Moka. Occasionally saccharine lines appear: Hina describes Hodaka as a “lost kitten.” But the target audience likely won’t mind. Casual fantasy readers should enjoy the mystery of Hina’s slow, otherworldly transformation.
An emotionally vibrant fantasy and an excellent portrait of Tokyo.