Book Review: I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

Is there a genre of books that you don't really read a whole lot of, but sometimes the mood strikes you to branch out? That is how I feel about romance books, particularly YA romance. I rarely read this genre, as the stories are usually repetitive and predictable. However, Sarah Kuhn has written a sweet and endearing story that transported me to a new world and I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book.

I Love You So Mochi tells the story of Kimi, a Japanese-American teen who is struggling with what she sees for herself in the future. Her mother is a talented painter and has aspirations that Kimi will follow in her footsteps. Kimi, however, is not as interested in painting as she is in fashion design, something she believes her mother would not approve of. When she is invited to spend spring break in Japan with her grandparents (whom she has never met), she unexpectedly accepts the invitation. While in Japan, Kimi discovers her true passion in life and becomes determined to be her own person and not what her mother wants her to be. She also meets a cute boy (this is a romance, after all) and together they inspire and support one another in their dreams. By the time Kimi returns home to America, she knows what she wants her future to look like; she just has to convince her mother of that future.

I really enjoyed this book. I have been intrigued by books set in Asian countries as of late, and to read a YA romance that is not overly lovey-dovey and sentimental was refreshing. Kimi is the typical teenage girl- determined in what she wants but unsure of how to tell those dreams to her parents. All teens can relate to that in some manner, and Kuhn's characters are all relateable in some manner: Kimi's best friend is afraid to ask out the person she likes; Akira, Kimi's love interest, is stuck between his dream and helping his family business; even Kimi's mother, who has not spoken to her parents in over a decade, is afraid to make contact with them for fear of past issues causing problems in the present. Kuhn's writing style is easy to follow yet not overly- flowery or dramatic. The ending is not sugary sweet but instead realistic and happy. Did this book break any new ground or make me think seriously about any of its subjects? No. Did I enjoy myself as I was reading? Absolutely. Overall, this was a wholesome book with a great story about a young girl on a journey of self-discovery.

If you are looking for a quick, light, fun read, pick up this book. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it and loved being immersed in the Japanese culture and going on this journey with Kimi. I would recommend this book to all readers, particularly if you are looking for something happier and sweeter in this time of quarantine and uncertainty.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐