Himawari House is a graphic novel where, after finishing, I knew I wanted to re-read. It perfectly encapsulates this feeling of leaving home, of learning a new language, and making friends. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Living in a new country is no walk in the park―Nao, Hyejung, and Tina can all attest to that. The three of them became fast friends through living together in the Himawari House in Tokyo and attending the same Japanese cram school. Nao came to Japan to reconnect with her Japanese heritage, while Hyejung and Tina came to find freedom and their own paths. Though each of them has her own motivations and challanges, they all deal with language barriers, being a fish out of water, self discovery, love, and family.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I cried while reading Himawari House. Becker transports readers not only to Japan, but also to that feeling of leaving home. Of not being able to communicate, of meeting new friends, and of finding your own way. Himawari House is tender. About how she assimilated growing up, self-erasing, and how coming back nothing is the same. These moments made me feel seen, they resonated deeply with me. Himawari House delves into the lives of Nao, Hyejung, and Tina.
We get to see their lives, their struggles, and dreams. I loved that as Himawari House progresses, it opens to their perspectives and experiences. What I loved is how Becker examines and explores the concept of home. How the notion of home, success, and family changes for us throughout our lives. Himawari House appeals to those struggling to go back home and to those searching for home. To anyone who has learned a new language, had to settle into somewhere new, and the friends we meet along the way.
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