“I want you to remember that you are boundless.”
Sarah Kuhn, I Love You So Mochi
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Year: 2019
Page Count: 308
Rating: 3.5 stars
Synopsis (From GoodReads):
Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement.
She’s obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother disapproves, and when they get into an explosive fight, Kimi’s entire future seems on the verge of falling apart. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi’s estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.
When she arrives in Japan, she’s met with a culture both familiar and completely foreign to her. She loses herself in the city’s outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival — and meets Akira, a cute aspiring med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. And what begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.
In I Love You So Mochi, author Sarah Kuhn has penned a delightfully sweet and irrepressibly funny novel that will make you squee at the cute, cringe at the awkward, and show that sometimes you have to lose yourself in something you love to find your Ultimate self.
This was such an adorable little contemporary, and I am happy that I got the chance to read it!
This book follows Kimi, who has always been obsessed with clothing. She loves making and designing her own clothes, much to her Japanese mother’s dismay. After Kimi has an intense fight with her mom, she decides to visit her parents in Japan over spring break in order to try to discover what her passion is. There, she meets Akira, a cute Japanese boy with dreams of being a doctor. Together, they decide they will spend spring break finding what Kimi is meant to do with her life.
What I Liked
I absolutely loved the Japanese setting in this book. I have never been to Japan, so being in this book almost felt like it transported me. The author did a great job at describing the scenery, the hustle and bustle, the tourist spots, and the food! I felt like I was right there with Kimi, experiencing new culture.
I think my favorite part of this book was the familial relationships Kimi built throughout the story. When Kimi first gets to Japan, her grandmother seems a bit stand-offish, and she accredits it to having not met her before. Kimi’s mom was cut off from her grandparents after she got married, and so tensions have always been very high within the family. Seeing Kimi navigate this relationship with her grandparents was very heart warming, and it was so much fun to see their relationship evolve. I also really liked Kimi’s relationship with her mother. As I mentioned before, Kimi initially traveled to Japan to get away from her mother after a fight. Even so, she does not reject her mom entirely and still continues to reach out. I loved reading the e-mails that Kimi sent to her mom. I think they not only developed Kimi as a character, but also did a great job at showing the complex dynamic she has with her mom.
Along with that, I just really liked Kimi as a character in general. She was fun, spunky, and just down to Earth! I really liked the fact that she was passionate about clothing. I love it when characters have very specific hobbies, because I think it is a great way to characterize. When I look back in the future, I think Kimi’s love for fashion is what I will remember most about this book.
What I Disliked
I wish I could write all positive things, but there was one really big drawback to this book for me, and that was the romance. While I liked Akira as a character, the romance was just too fast for me. Kimi is in Japan over spring break, so she is there for maybe a week? It just felt like a classic case of insta-like to me, and eventually insta-love. Along with that, I just felt like the romance was a bit unmemorable. While there were some cute moments, it just kind of felt like every other YA romance to me.
Along with that, while Akira was very sweet, he just felt unrealistic. I know that he is a smart, older guy who is applying to med school, but some of the things he said would just have never come out of the mouth of a teenage boy. It definitely reminded me that Akira was in fact just a character, and not a real person. I think that was another reason why I had a hard time with the romance.
You Should Read This Book If:
- You like travel books
- You enjoy complex family relationships
- You like fun, quirky main characters
- You are interested in Japanese culture
What did you think of this book? Let me know in the comments below!