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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Release & Review - Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: Seven Days of You
Author: Cecilia Vinesse
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Age Category/ Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

Buy Links: Amazon 

3 “Tokyo & Countdowns” Stars

ARC via NetGalley.

Thank you, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers!

The first half of this book deserves a higher rating than the second half, that’s for sure. But I decided to go with a avarage rating here because there was a lot I liked, but also a lot that didn’t impress me.

The first positive thing I have to say about this book is: This isn’t set in the U.S.A.!!! I mean, don’t get me wrong, but isn’t it nice to see a contemporary story set somewhere else? The world is a big place, guys, and I appreciate learning a little bit about the rest of it as often as I can.

Second positive note, I knew the author had lived in Japan just by reading the first chapter—I didn’t really know anything about Cecilia Vinesse, but the writing told me that about ger. There were a lot of small details here and there about life in Tokyo, and those were things I knew meant the person writing the story had experienced them firsthand. So, good job!

Do I wish the setting had been even more vivid? Sure. I could’ve used a stronger use of all senses in the writing, something that’d take the story to the next level and made me feel more immersed in the world she was creating. In fact, the story would've benefited from Japan and the Japanese culture having a bigger influence on it overall. Having said that, I think the author did a good job portraying how an American girl sees Tokyo.

Maybe it isn’t how the Japanese see their country’s capital, but the main character, Sophia managed to live in an American bubble within Tokyo. That bubble took away from the full Tokyo-experience, but that’s how most contemporary stories set outside the U.S.A. go. It worked for Anna and the French Kiss, so it should work here, too, right?

Well… It could’ve worked if the characters had been likable enough to carry the story without needing a strong world building.

The reason I said in the beginning that the first half was better than the second was because of the character’s likability factor. Sophia, the girl leaving Tokyo in seven days, started out as an interesting enough character. I felt sorry for her because leaving the people you love behind is never easy. And, you know, Japan isn’t exactly the kind of place you can visit when you have a few vacation days.

Sophia’s drama was relatable. She was leaving behind friends she didn’t know she'd ever see again and a life in a city she loved. Poor girl. As someone who moved places when young, I understand and sympathize with her. But Sophia's situation got worse once a dreamy boy entered the picture.

Jamie, the boy Sophia pretended to disliked, but actually had feelings for, came back to Tokyo a week before Sophia had to leave, which made saying good-bye harder.

Unfortunately, that's also when the characters—Sophia included—also became harder to like. This turn of events was actually weird since Jamie was pretty much the perfect guy. Or maybe because Jamie was so perfect the rest of the characters seemed so horrible in comparison? I might be onto something here.

My biggest problem with Sophia came from the fact that she acted like a spoiled brat a lot of the time. I understand she was going through a lot with the moving, losing the life she was used to and learning the truth about the father she idolized, but it still didn't excuse how selfish and immature she came across for the second half of the book. Her attitudes made it very hard to be on team Sophia.

I also wasn't on team Mika or David--Sophia's best friends. Or, at least, what Sophia thought they were. Mika was as immature as Sophia, being uncapable of apologizing properly for hurting her friend. That kitchen apology didn't do it for me. Sorry, but it wasn't enough. It didn't even seem to me that she really acknowledged what she had done and why it was wrong and hurtful. As to David, dude was villainish, to say the least. What he did toward the end proved that he was never Sophia's friend.

So does that mean that I didn't like any character in the story? Nope. I was firmly on Team Jamie--from beginning to end. From the moment he came into the story, Jamie showed me he was a nice guy and deserved to be appreciated in a way I doubted Sophia could. Problem is Sophia proved me right. She never treated Jamie with the respect and care he deserved. It took her more time than the story had--since it was counting down to the seven days she had left--to realize she had feelings for him, and then to act on it. The acting on it part I can actually understand, since no sane person would want to fall in love with someone living across the globe. But the falling love was part of what the story promised, right? So I didn't want to be robbed of those moments. I wanted more of Sophia growing closer to Jamie, and less of Sophia being immature about Mika and David.

I also wanted Sophia not to disrespect Jamie the way she did toward the end. I'm not going to spoiler it, but what she did was really bad. Really bad. And, again, she didn't even seem to realize the full impact of her actions. She was ready to pack, get on a plane and leave that mess behind. But Jamie, being the good soul he was, found a way to fix it. Do I wish she had been more active on the getting-his-forgiveness part? Definitely. Jamie deserved it.

Then... there's the ending. I'm not sure how to feel about it yet. I don't like it, that's for sure, but I (sort of) understand why it had to end the way it did. I just hope we had gotten an extra chapter set in the future, or something. At that point I wasn't sure if I liked Sophia enough to root for her happiness, but I wanted Jamie to be happy and that ending broke my heart. It was emotional, that's all I'll say. 

In the end, I have to say that while I was intrigued to read this story because of the setting and the angsty romance, I didn't really get the full experience promised by the blurb. It was a good read and Jamie made the whole thing a lot more endearing, which made it worth reading for me.

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