I received a copy of Brenda St. John Brown’s Swimming to Tokyo from the group Never too old to read Y.A & N.A. books. In turn, I will give an honest review of the book. This post will be cross posted to GoodReads, my blog, and Barnes and Noble’s page for the book.
Overall, I gave the book a solid 3 stars with GoodRead’s star ratings, but personally I’d give it more of a 3.5. Once I started reading, the book I didn’t want to put it down. It was intriguing, and it was refreshing to see how these characters seemed “broken” to themselves, but couldn’t see what others saw of themselves. To me that kind of made the book more realistic.
Zosia and Finn went to the same high school, but she only had a crush on him from afar. He was a loner, she was popular. They haven’t crossed paths until the eve of Zosia leaving for Tokyo for her father’s job. Once they “reconnected” I kind of figured there’d be a lot more to them once they arrived in Tokyo. What started out as a friendship between two similar aged teens, turns into more when they both realize that together they are better than they are alone.
I also enjoyed the research Ms. St. John Brown put into the story. Knowing about the different areas of Tokyo, and the trains kind of made me feel like I was there with Zosia (side note, ever since HBO’s Girl’s became popular, I see the name Zosia and think of Zosia Mamet and I had her face in mind every time I saw the name. Not that it is bad thing. I just kind of like creating an image of a book characters on my own, and not because a name makes me think of someone.)
I also know I would have rated this higher if there had been some better editing. A couple times towards the end of the book, there were some missing words in sentences, and throughout the whole book I noticed missing quotation marks or conversations from two different characters placed on the same line and at times that made it confusing as to: was Zosia saying it or was Finn?
While I breezed through the book, I also thought a lot happened in the last 80 or so pages. The first part of the book wasn’t slow I do think something more could have been added in.
Also this book made me cry. So if the loss of a loved one gets to you, make sure you have tissues handy.
Would I recommend this book to others? Yes, I would I would tell them that this is a nice quick read. (If this was summertime this is the book I would have been reading on the beach and I don’t think that is a bad thing either, it’s just one of those that you’d want to read while sitting in a beach chair sipping a lovely drink).
Overall, I really enjoyed Zosia and Finn’s story of their summer in Tokyo. They got to experience amazing things in a completely different culture and that summer helped both characters move on from different circumstances in life.