book review – i love you so mochi by sarah kuhn

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.

i loved this book so mochi.

before i start talking about the story, let’s just take a moment and appreciate the fluffiest piece of art that is the cover of this book. also, the title is so punny and adorable, which adds to the cuteness even more.

one of my favorite things about the book is that it’s set in kyoto, a part of japan that almost never appears in ya novels. it’s underrated, really – with its beautiful shrines and cherry blossoms, kyoto is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

in this book, we meet kimi, who was an aspiring artist until she finds out that she has lost all motivation for something she has been doing for her entire life – painting. on the other hand, akira, a japanese boy whose uncle runs a mochi shop, has always known what he wants to be – a doctor.

my love of fun is complicated by parental expectations and a burning need to not disappoint anyone.

i love you so mochi by sarah kuhn

kimi always feels frustrated with what she and her friends call asian mom math. being pressured by her mom, she grew up believing that art is the thing she loves most. this happens for me too – my parents and i have very different expectations for myself, and sometimes it can be quite difficult to satisfy both.

akira, on the other hand, is encouraged to pursue his dreams. the only person stopping him from doing so is himself. he helps his uncle with his mochi shop, and with the rent being raised, he believes that it is his responsibility to work hard for the shop and to give up his med school dreams to keep it going.

i really like how kimi and akira are always there for each other on every step of their self discovery journey. akira makes it his mission to help kimi find out her goals in life, while kimi motivates akira to chase after his passion.

and that slow burn romance. can someone please buy me an airplane ticket so i can fly to japan and find a boy who gives me mochis when we go on dates? akira is the sweetest, most precious character in the universe. i think i have a new book boyfriend.(●´∀`)ノ♡

the romance is beautiful, and so is kimi’s relationship with her family and friends. kimi has never met her estranged maternal grandparents from japan before, and i really liked seeing how they eventually warm up to her.

as for her parents, it’s clear that they want the best for her, but don’t know how to express it (in other words, asian mom math). i loved kimi’s emails to her mom – they are so honest, and full of raw emotion, and i tore up a bit at the very end (not going into detail here, i don’t want to spoil it for you!)

and kimi’s friends are the best. they don’t even get mad when kimi suddenly abandons them and their spring break plans for a spontaneous trip to japan, and are supportive of every decision kimi makes. we need more friendships like this in ya novels!

i love you so mochi is an adorable, sweet and heartwarming novel about love and family. i loved it so much, and i’m sure you would too!


have you read i love you so mochi yet? what is your favorite mochi flavor? let me know in the comments

6 thoughts on “book review – i love you so mochi by sarah kuhn

  1. OHMYGOSH this book sounds insanely adorable 😍 And you’re right, I don’t think I’ve read any books set in contemporary Japan! I can already tell I’m gonna adore this book – you had me at food pun!

    Liked by 1 person

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