What to expect

“I’m here to take you to live with your father. In Tokyo, Japan! Happy birthday!”

In the Land of the Rising Sun, where high culture meets high kitsch, and fashion and technology are at the forefront of the First World’s future, the foreign-born teen elite attend ICS—the International Collegiate School of Tokyo. Their accents are fluid. Their homes are ridiculously posh. Their sports games often involve a (private) plane trip to another country. They miss school because of jet lag and visa issues. When they get in trouble, they seek diplomatic immunity.

Enter foster-kid-out-of-water Elle Zoellner, who, on her sixteenth birthday discovers that her long-lost father, Kenji Takahara, is actually a Japanese hotel mogul and wants her to come live with him. Um, yes, please! Elle jets off first class from Washington, DC, to Tokyo, which seems like a dream come true. Until she meets her enigmatic father, her way-too-fab aunt, and her hypercritical grandmother, who seems to wish Elle didn’t exist. In an effort to please her new family, Elle falls in with the Ex-Brats, a troupe of übercool international kids who spend money like it’s air. But when she starts to crush on a boy named Ryuu, who’s frozen out by the Brats and despised by her new family, her already tenuous living situation just might implode.

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is about learning what it is to be a family, and finding the inner strength to be yourself, even in the most extreme circumstances.

Critics Review

  • “Elle’s narration sparkles with wit and insight…Cohn’s descriptions of Tokyo are fresh and vivid, focusing on details interesting to teen readers…One of those rare books that combines an authentic teen voice with a confident plunge into a fascinating culture.”

    Booklist (starred review)
  • “A relatable fish-out-of-water story with a lively heroine.”

    Publishers Weekly
  • “Ojo is delightful in this wish-fulfillment romp. She easily captures Elle’s optimism even when it’s muddied by her dire circumstances. Her Japanese accents are of two varieties: high pitched for teen girls, and a gruff and deeper tone for male and elderly Japanese characters. Overall, a worthy purchase that will brighten up your YA collection.”

    Booklist (audio review)
  • “Fans of misery and romance will lose themselves in this modern Cinderella story.”

    School Library Journal
  • “A fun, well-paced novel about family, friendship, and romance…A fun and enjoyable look into the drama of lives of privilege and power.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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