I have four words to describe this book: wicked idea, terrible outcome. I could not have imagined a better idea for a YA novel that hadn’t been written before. The idea of using Japanese and the double meanings of words was incredibly clever, so it was more than disappointing to find out how poorly it was executed.
What frustrated me the most were the characters. In a way, I felt it was overflowing with them – while a good love triangle is often enjoyable, Jun’s character only felt so-so. Tanaka’s role as Katie’s friend was so tiny the book probably would have done without him. I liked Tomohiro, the good bad guy, although his attitude was confusing and for a good part of the book, he was barely tolerable. Katie was fun, but from time to time, her ability to be unreasonable annoyed me.
But I loved the story. A huge part in that is my love for Japan.Although the books was unmistakably American both in writing style and execution, it was still enjoyable. The author obviously knew what she was writing about. Yet she wasn’t able to contain between the pages the essence and the feeling of Japan. Maybe that’s the classical American-in-Japan experience, but there is so much more that Japan could be. I wonder if the next books in the series are like that and if I should give them a try. Hopefully, I will. An average start is better than a bad one anyway – it can get better, it can get worse. The series will keep me at least entertained.