Monday, August 3, 2020

I LOVE YOU SO MOCHI by Sarah Kuhn.  New York:  Scholastic Press, 2019. 308p.  ISBN 978-133830288-2 hc. $17.99     Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

Most teens can relate to the feelings of inadequacy that follow Kimi throughout her day.  She does best in her own imagination, where she can socialize and navigate family issues perfectly.  Her greatest skill is making colorful clothing out of unusual materials that make her stand out in a crowd.  However, not everyone appreciates the way she uses her artistic skills.  Kimi’s mom, who would like her to be serious about painting, blows her top when she finds out Kimi has been skipping art class.  As if on cue, a plane ticket to Japan arrives from Kimi's estranged grandparents fora  visit during spring break.  Kimi jumps at the chance to put some space between her mother and herself, while embarking on a cultural adventure to discover her heritage.  Besides meeting her maternal grandparents, Kimi meets her love interest, Akira, at his uncle’s mochi stand.  As they embark on sight-seeing excursions around Kyoto, Akira encourages Kimi to develop her design skills, rather than go to art school because her mom wants her to.  As it turns out, her grandparents agree, giving Kimi the courage to stand up for herself and apply to design school instead.  As Kimi discovers more about her family, she begins to understand herself better and paves a path to her future. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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