Culver City High School senior Kimi Nakamura has her life mapped out. Next year, she will attend Liu Fine Arts Academy, her next step to becoming a “Great Asian American Artist,” as her artist mother has always intended. But after feeling blocked from painting, Kimi secretly drops out of Advanced Fine Art and focuses her energy, instead, on designing and creating clothes. After her mom learns about the dropped class, a well-timed invitation to visit her estranged maternal grandparents in Kyoto over spring break is the reprieve Kimi needs to recalibrate her relationship with her mom and explore her true artistic passions. And sparks fly when “Kimi from America” meets “Akira. From Japan,” who is dressed as an anthropomorphized mochi to sell his uncle’s handcrafted treats. This novel offers a unique perspective of Japanese culture from the experiences of a fifth-generation Japanese-American protagonist. Kuhn (the Heroine Complex series), herself of Japanese ancestry, peppers the novel with Japanese phrases, foods, and cultural specifics. Readers of all backgrounds will connect with the universal themes and insights into teenage first love in this charming rom-com. Ages 12–up. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary Agency. (June)
"As sweet and satisfying as actual mochi... a tender love story wrapped up in food, fashion, and family. I gobbled it up." -- Maurene Goo, author of The Way You Make Me Feel
"A walk through Japan, a swoon-worthy boy, and an amazing journey of self-discovery. It was adorably perfect!" -- Kasie West, author of P.S. I Like You
"Filled with fashion, heart, family, and romance... Sarah Kuhn is a bright new voice in YA." -- Cecil Castellucci, New York Times bestselling author of Don't Cosplay with My Heart
"As delightful as its title, I Love You So Mochi is a nuanced exploration of the struggle between where you come from and who you are, and how together they define where you're going. I connected with this book so mochi!" -- Gloria Chao, author of American Panda
"Just as sweet and delectable as mochi! This book is a delightful, tender romance full of humor and humanity that will take you on a heart-warming journey through the streets and dishes of Kyoto." -- Britta Lundin, writer on CW's Riverdale and author of Ship It
"Travel! Fashion! Romance! I Love You So Mochi has it all. Sarah Kuhn combines flirty fun with deep questions of purpose and familial loyalty. Filled with wonderfully unique characters and the equally intricate and varied relationships between them, this book is a dish you want to keep diving into." -- Keiko Agena, actress, and author of No Mistakes
"A deft, fun, and heartfelt coming-of-age story about finding yourself even when you don't know where to start looking. There is a real depth here that -- when balanced with Sarah Kuhn's tart sense of humor -- creates a transcendent, compelling read." -- Amber Benson, actress, director, and author of The Witches of Echo Park series
"Whimsically fresh, funny and heartfelt... A treasure trove of charming characters and delicious adventures, this book is one you won't be able to put down!" -- Ally Maki, actress on Marvel's Cloak & Dagger and Wrecked
"I Love You So Mochi is a sassy, delightful, heartwarming love story about navigating familial expectations, finding yourself in-between two cultures, and following your true happiness... while eating delicious Japanese food along the way. I wish I could travel back in time to gift this book to my teenage self." -- Yumi Sakagawa, author of The Little Book of Life Hacks
"[A] frothy romance as sweet as mochi with a heaping side of satisfying self-discovery." -- School Library Journal
"An incredibly sweet and heartwarming coming-of-age romantic comedy... Strong characters and a story with real depth make this a worthy read." -- Kirkus Reviews
Gr 8 Up—All is not well in the world of Kimiko Nakamura. It's the second half of her senior year, and Kimi's already been accepted to a prestigious art school where she will pursue her (and her mom's) dream of becoming an artist—definitely not the ideal time to realize that painting is no longer her passion. Kimi would rather design and create exciting fashions for herself and her friends than worry about her future. The revelation drives a wedge between her and her mother, so Kimi accepts an unexpected invitation from her estranged grandparents to visit them in Japan for spring break. There she meets Akira, a handsome mascot for his uncle's mochi business. He pledges to help Kimi discover her true passion as they explore Kyoto and their growing feelings for each other. The setting, replete with blooming cherry trees, delicious food, and a culture that is at once familiar and foreign to Kimi, is a perfect backdrop for her musings on identity, family, and purpose. Kimi's developing relationship with her grandparents, through which she begins to understand both herself and her mother in a new light, is particularly touching and well told in this YA debut. VERDICT Deliver to readers who crave frothy, clean romance as sweet as mochi with a heaping side of satisfying self-discovery.—Darla Salva Cruz, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
A disheartened teen takes a trip to Japan to find her true passion.
Japanese-American high school senior Kimi Nakamura's future is planned out: become a great Asian-American artist. But painting is her mom's dream. Kimi enjoys designing bold outfits that make her feel like the ultimate version of herself. After fighting with her mom, Kimi is eager to accept a surprise invitation to visit her estranged grandparents in Kyoto over spring break. With a fourth-generation Japanese-American father and a Japanese mother, the country offers her many familiar foods and customs but also a completely foreign culture. With its beautiful sights, Kyoto is the perfect place to find herself. It also helps that Akira, a cute boy, offers to be her guide. What begins as an escape from reality becomes Kimi's path to developing insights into her mother's past and her own future. Kuhn (Heroine's Journey, 2018, etc.) has brought together travel, fashion, food, romance, and family to create an incredibly sweet and heartwarming coming-of-age romantic comedy. Weaving in Japanese vocabulary and slang, she also subtly addresses racism and differences between Japanese and Japanese-American cultures. She explores the struggle of discovering one's familial and cultural history and how it shapes who one becomes. Strong characters and a story with real depth make this a worthy read.
Readers will love this teen rom-com so mochi. (Fiction. 12-18)