Thursday 8 September 2022

Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean #MikaInRealLife #EmikoJean @MichaelJBooks @JenRHarlow @PenguinUKBooks #BookReview



She's been fired (again). Her last relationship went up in flames. Her mother is perpetually disappointed in her.

And now, she's had a phone call from sixteen-year-old Penny Calvin: the baby she reluctantly placed for adoption when she was just a teenager herself.

Penny has questions - and Mika is desperate to meet her girl. But she barely feels like she can take care of herself . . .

Is she ready to show Penny who Mika Suzuki really is?

Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean is published today, 8 September 2022, by Penguin Michael Joseph in hardback. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

Readers cannot but help it, they will fall in love with Mika. Despite the fact that she's thirty-five, just been fired from yet another dead-end job and lives with her best mate in a very untidy house, there's lots to love about Mika.

Her own mother will disagree though! Mika comes from a traditional Japanese family, she's expected to know how to cook, clean and be a great wife and her mother doesn't hold back with her disappointment about Mika's choices in life. 

As Mika ponders the grocery aisles in the local supermarket she receives a phone call that will turn her world upside down. The caller is sixteen-year-old Penny. Penny is the baby that Mika gave up for adoption when she was in college. Mika always knew where Penny was, she received regular updates from her adoptive parents, but she is astonished the Penny wants to talk. Overjoyed, overwhelmed and very emotional. 

Penny's adoptive mother died five years ago, and whilst she's a happy, well-adjusted kid who gets along with her father, it's clear that she'd like a mother figure as she enters those difficult young adult years. Mika is delighted to be that person. However, Mika is not really proud of what she's achieved in her life so far, so feels that she must embellish the facts a little. Inventing a loving boyfriend and a fancy house. 

When Penny tells Mika that she and her father are planning to vist, Mika panics and enlisting the help of housemate and best friend Hana, she has to make things right. 

An enjoyable blend of romance and family relationships make this a really entertaining read. The author skilfully takes the mother-daughter relationship and unpicks it so very well. There are so many astute and insightful elements to both Mika and her mother's relationship and also the growing bond between her and Penny. 

This author has written Young Adult books in the past, this is her first adult novel and she's done it very well. I really enjoyed the addition of the Japanese culture within the story and how this can affect a young woman being brought up in the West, it's sensitively handled. 

Funny, heartwarming and with characters to adore, I really enjoyed Mika in Real Life and will watch out for more adult novels from this author. 

Emiko Jean is the author of Tokyo Ever After, which was the Reese Witherspoon YA pick for July
and a NYT bestseller. 

When she's not writing, she is reading. 

Most of her friends are imaginary. 

Before she became a writer she was an entomologist (fancy name for bug catcher), a candle maker, a florist, and most recently a teacher. 

She lives in Washington with her husband and children (unruly twins). 

She loves the rain. 

Mika in Real Life is her first adult novel.

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