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Mika in Real Life

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Jean didn't hold back and captured the raw emotions between characters when they messed up or were changing and growing.

She has a ride-or-die best friend, Hana, who she lives with, but their home is not tidy or cozy thanks to Hana’s late-night QVC binges.Unfortunately, Mika wants this to work so badly, she begins lying about parts of her life she wishes were better: her job, her living arrangements, her boyfriend and well. The voice on the other end is new to her but familiar to her heart: Penny, the daughter she gave up for adoption 16 years ago when she was only a freshman in college. To me, the romance between Mika and Penny’s adoptive father was forced, not to mention a bit creepy and off-putting. Took me forever to get through this one because life got in the way and I wasn't necessarily pulled to read it. When Mika comes out and admits she was raped, her mother tells her to get over it as bad things happen to everyone- she had to move to the US from Japan when she didn’t want to after all.

The real question, though, is if Mika can be as true to herself as she wants to be to her daughter, which means facing both her own judgmental and discerning mother and her role as Penny’s mother. She has always felt that she won't ever live up to her parent's expectations, especially her mother's. For the end note, I just have no other things to say that I really like this book and this is a really great book. If you like audiobooks, I highly recommend the audio version of this one because the narrator did a fantastic job.In the end, Mika must face the truth—about herself, her family, and her past—and answer the question, just who is Mika in real life? But I absolutely adored Emiko Jean's Toyko Ever After books and wanted to give this book a chance and I am really glad I did. In her newest book, author Emiko Jean brings us a poignant yet ultimately uplifting story about a woman who, after experiencing trauma and setbacks in her life, goes on a path of self-discovery that helps her to overcome her insecurities as well as better understand who she is “in real life.

Although Mika is the protagonist, and she clearly harbors a lot of pain about giving Penny up for adoption, Jean is careful to chronicle both her journey and that of Penny’s adoptive parents, showing the highs and lows, joys and pains of each side, never favoring one over the other or suggesting that one side is better than the other. I am so appreciative to publisher William Morrow Books for allowing me to read and review this book and I highly recommend adding to your end of summer reading list.Mika In Real Life is a poignant and compelling exploration of identity, love, and what it means to be a mother. All she’d wanted was to protect Penny from the truth… She had wanted to show Penny that the adoption had been worth it for both of them. Mika was no different and while she truly was the conductor of the hot mess express, she was beautiful and doing her best to grow up! Penny is determined to forge a relationship with her birth mother, and in turn, Mika longs to be someone Penny is proud of. Not all parents are good, and seeing the contrast between Mika’s mum and the type of mum she wants to be.

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