I Love You so Mochi by Sarah Kuhn
Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement. She’s obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel brave, fabulous, and like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother sees this as a distraction from working on her portfolio paintings for the prestigious fine art academy where she’s been accepted for college. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi’s estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.
When she arrives in Japan, she loses herself in Kyoto’s outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival–and meets Akira, a cute med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. What begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.
My Review | ★★★☆☆
*I feel like this entire review has spoiler-y content, so if you don’t want to know anything besides how I felt, here you go:
Not-believable romance, weird parental expectation that didn’t seem believable, super fun fashion design mc swoon-worthy descriptions of Kyoto and very cute grandparent relationship scenes. *
I’m kind of sad I couldn’t get behind the main conflict in this book. There were so many precious scenes that really hit me, but they were all twinged with my disbelief for basically the entire plot.
Alright so Kimi has been painting her entire life. When she finally gets into this prestigious art school and must create her final amazing painting that will encompass her as an ~artiste~, she can’t. Her mom is super excited for her to follow *her dreams* and follow in her footsteps as a painter.
Instead of painting her super important piece of art, she’s been “messing around” and sketching some super bad ass outfit sketches and created her own garments out of scraps of clothes and other material that sparks her creativity.
When Kimi’s parents find out she hasn’t actually started her painting and she maybe dropped her advanced art class, shit hits the fan. How could she throw away this oppourtunity!! This is all she’s ever dreamed of!! (Just like me your mom who is also an artist!!)
Her mom says she needs to stop “distracting herself” with drawing and making clothes and think about her career as an artist. That messing around making clothes won’t help her get a job in the future.
— ok. This is the first place this story lost me. This entire internal conflict of Kimi deciding she no longers wants to be a painter (did she actually ever want it?) and “not knowing what she wants to do with her life” (hellloooo maybe the thing you’re obsessed with and actually good at? i.e. fashion design) just doesn’t make sense to me. For some reason in my mind the idea that her mom would be so rigid about what kind of artist she wants her daughter to be just doesn’t seem realistic? Because both of those professions are considered artists. Just different mediums.
And throughout the entire book she’s trying to “find herself” in Japan and figure out what she really wants to do, but her passion of clothes-making is almost never seen as an option. She even goes to her grandma’s friend’s clothing store full of clothes she’s created herself and she still doesn’t admit that its a viable job option. like?????? I get there’s some self denial in there, but it really didn’t make sense to me.
*spoilers for the end*
eventually when she gets back home her mom realizes she was being freaking annoying and that her dream of being a fashion designer is just as valid as her dream of being a painter. like duh??? idk. I feel like this narrative would make more sense if the initial job was more of a stable/boring job and not just a different sect of artist. It doesn’t hole the same amount of parental expectation or something? I’m not sure.
lol they told e/o they were in love after ……. 2 weeks. There was basically zero conflict in this “love story” and whatever there was, was taken care of in 1-2 days. and I get that this is a short timeline so things kind of have to move that quickly, but… it didn’t feel genuine to me. I wanted more struggle!!! More tension!!!
I’m actually so sad that I couldn’t get behind the legit two main plots in this story lol. There were so many cute moments and scenes!! Her learning more about her grandparents and building a relationship with them? GOLD! The letters she wrote to her mom about how she began falling in love with clothing design? BEAUTIFUL! The descriptions while she roamed around the city? SO FUN! (I will say I’m a little sus about how easily they traveled around – esp to Nara- , but that was never really addressed so I’m just gonna ignore it.)
Overall, this wasn’t the worst contemporary romance I’ve ever read. There were just some really annoying problems that are keeping me from *loving* it.
*Thank you to Edelweiss and Scholastic for this review copy!