Tanabata Wish by Sara Fujimura
Phoenix-native Skyler Doucet’s plans with her BFF are ruined when her mom and Japanese stepfather move the entire family to Nagoya, Japan for the summer before her senior year. But when David Takamatsu, a biracial Japanese-American boy, invades Skyler’s space (and her heart), this fish out of water in Japan starts to wonder if it’s the pond back home that might be too small.
Skyler is thrown completely out of her comfort zone when she is forced to travel to Japan with her family for the summer. As the story develops, she begins to realize just how small her world is, and how much she has been missing.
Skyler experiences complete culture shock as she is reluctantly thrown into another country, but she slowly overcomes it. I really enjoyed watching Skyler go from being angry at her parents for ruining her summer (and therefore her life), to finding multiple ways to connect to the culture, and the way she opens herself up to discovering more. In turn, she finds new interests that she never even realized existed, and finds herself at home somewhere she never even imagined being.
I really liked Skyler, though at times I found her to be a little annoying (though she did seem to be acting like a regular teenager so that is probably a me issue). The initial complaining about every single thing was starting to get tiresome, but as the story progressed and she was exposed to more of the Japanese culture, Skyler became a lot more likeable and interesting. I realize that the lack of personality at the start was kind of the point, but at the same time, it was rather hard work to read at first. I didn’t like Rachel’s character much either. She also lacked a personality (though even more self-absorbed), and every single interaction with Rachel frustrated me.
This is a great coming of age story, with some fantastic insights into Japanese culture woven in. Lately all of the books I have read have been set in either England or America, so it was nice to read something a little different.
Have you read Tanabata Wish? Let me know your thoughts!
Check out Tanabata Wish on goodreads.