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Episode 53 - Emiko Jean

Photo Credit: Susan Doupe

Emiko Jean's Tokyo Ever After just made me smile. This YA novel about a Japanese American high school senior who discovers she's a princess was just what I needed after all of the challenges of the past year.

The protagonist, Izumi Tanaka, lives with her mom in a small town in northern California and attends a school with very few Asian American students. She's never known her dad. Her mom just told her he was someone she met in college. Through some snooping, she gets a clue to his identity, and a friend's detective work helps her to discover he is the Crown Prince of Japan making her a princess. When he finds out, he embraces his role as a dad and invites Izumi to spend time with him in his palace in Tokyo. While there she struggles a bit to fit in among some of her royal relatives and begins to fall for her bodyguard, Aiko, which is against all kinds of protocol.

This one is sweet and fun but also touches on some serious issues about identity and belonging.

I had a great time talking to Emiko about this novel, which is her third. I don't know if I've ever laughed this much on the show.

Interview Highlights:

Emiko reveals....

- which characters are based on people from her life

- how she hopes to subvert the subliminal message traditional fairytales send to girls of color

- why she didn't feel like a whole person until she wrote this book

Click here to listen to the episode. You can also help Emiko and the show by purchasing the book here.

During the show, Emiko mentioned a popular YA novel that she started but couldn't get through. The first listener to tell us the name of this novel either on Twitter or Facebook will win a free copy of Tokyo Ever After.

If you have won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you're in eligible for this contest. If you and I ever attended VBS together, you're probably ineligible. ReadMore doesn't have a friends and family plan. But we'll always have those memories of those classes during hot summer nights and cold punch with crushed ice.


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