From Publishers Weekly
Tokunaga (Midori by Moonlight
) proves her ability to describe Japanese culture in absorbing detail, though she's less adept at bringing her characters to life. After aspiring San Jose singer Celeste Duncan learns her aunt Michiko has died and left her possessions to her long-lost sister, Hiromi, Celeste dumps her dud boyfriend and relocates to Tokyo to find Hiromi and, hopefully, the identity of her own father. Her quest introduces her to a bustling Tokyo, and the staples of its pop culture are explored as Celeste bounces from experience to experience—commuting as contact sport, romance with a Japanese man, karaoke and her participation in a music competition show. While it's easy to see why Celeste would be taken with Tokyo, it's less clear why readers should be taken with Celeste, who comes across less a convincing lead than a tour guide. (Dec.)
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Living in sleepy San Jose with her overly critical boyfriend and working a dull job at a technical document company, Celeste Duncan is stuck in a rut. With that said, it feels like fate when she receives a box of family heirlooms from an aunt who recently passed. As a result of her mother’s early death and an absent father, Celeste impulsively decides to travel to Japan to find a relative who may be able to help her piece together her father’s whereabouts. As Celeste maneuvers along the cultural divide, she manages to pick up a few Japanese words, develop an intense crush on her homestay brother, and enter an American Idol–like singing contest in hopes of broadcasting her search for her relative. The cultural misunderstandings and mispronunciations are good for a laugh even as Celeste takes the brunt of the jokes. Our heroine is goofy, awkward, and clumsy in comparison to her Japanese counterparts, yet always lovable and good-natured. Tokunaga’s knowledge of and appreciation for Japanese culture shines through in this charmingly entertaining read. --Annie McCormick