Monday 27 March 2017

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Review: Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Seven Days of You by Cecilia VinesseNetGalleySeven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse (eProof) - 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?
From Goodreads.

I don't really know what to say about Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse. I was really looking forward to it as it sounded so good, but I finished feeling really let down.

Most of the characters are unlikable. You don't need to like a character to enjoy a story, but there was may one character I liked out of them all, Alison, Sophia's older sister, but that was only sometimes. Most were either not very nice people, or just bland. I didn't like Sophia, either, she could be so cruel at times.

And then there's the romance itself, which I simply didn't believe. I didn't feel it. Sophia went from hating him to liking him so quickly; you don't spend three years hating someone, only for them to say sorry and suddenly everything is ok and the hate is gone.And I didn't believe that they fell in love over seven days. Maybe I would have if we got to see more of the conversations they had when walking around Tokyo, instead of just being told they walked around Tokyo for hours talking. What I did see didn't feel like enough for the romance to develop as quickly as it did. And it's not that the book took place in seven days - I completely believed the romance in Just One Day by Gayle Forman, and that took place over one day. It just didn't work for me, here.

I did like what we learnt about Tokyo, but we didn't get to see a huge deal. Again, there was a lot of walking around that we didn't actually see. The book is supposed to be the author's love letter to Tokyo, but we don't really see a huge amount of it. And one of my main problems is the lack of diversity. Sophia's sister is gay, and it's possible that Sophia's friend, Mika, is biracial; half-white-American, half-Japanese, but that isn't made completely clear. It's possible it's hinted at, with her father being the vice president of a big Asian airline, but that could just be me reading too much into things, looking for diversity. If Mika is biracial, her father is the only Japanese character to have a name. The only one. And if he's not, then there are no Japanese characters in this book except in the periphery; people Sophia walks past, or accidentally bumps into, or buys things from. And considering this is set in Japan, I think that's terrible. I know this is the story of an ex-pat, and all the friends Sophia has are from her school for ex-pats, but she doesn't know anyone in Japan who's actually Japanese? No friends, no neighbours? Not one single person? I find that surprising and unrealistic - how can you live in a country and not know anyone from there? It's just not possible - but also hugely problematic. This book is set in Japan, where are the Japanese people?! Their absence is not ok.

Nor am I impressed with Sophia, who was born and raised in Japan until she was five, and then came back to Japan four years ago, and yet only knows the the most basic Japanese. It was never the plan to move from Japan when she was five, it was only after Sophia's mother got a job in the US that they decided to move, but up until then, until issues came about, the family were living in Tokyo with no plans to leave - I would have expected that they help their children learn to communicate with the people whose country they're living in. I cannot believe that for those first five years of her life, Sophia parent's only spoke to her in English - especially considering her mother is Polish and her father is French. Surely they would have talked to their kids in Polish and French, and English and Japanese?

So not only does Sophia not know anyone who's Japanese, she can't really communicate with them either. Surely I can't be the only one who thinks this is just awful?! Why write a story where your main character is completely cut off from the people around them. I can't help but think if a Japanese person/someone with Japanese heritage were to read this book, they would feel insulted by the lack of Japanese people, Sophia's failure to get to know any of them, or to actually try to learn to talk to them. Japanese is one of her classes at school, for crying out loud! I'm really not happy or comfortable with any of this.

This book just wasn't for me, I'm afraid. And as I can only give a "maybe" about any person of colour being in this book, I can't in good conscience recommend it.

Thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley for the eProof.

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Published: 9th March 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Cecilia Vinesse's Website

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  1. Thanks for linking this up to the British Books Challenge x

  2. I hate when a book disappoints. It sounds like the only thing going for this book was its setting, and even that seems to have just been thrown in. I don't think I will be reading this one - despite my love of Japan. Honest review, thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! Yeah, I was really not happy with how this book was written. I don't feel like I came out of it knowing much more about Japan. and the extreme lack of Japanese really makes me angry. And the story itself just wasn't doing it for me. Not a book for me, I guess. Thank you!