What better feeling is there when you know you’ll love a book and then you’re right? I have heard SO many good things about I Love You So Mochi. And it’s been on my TBR since it released, but only just now did I have the chance to listen to it via audiobook! Keep reading this book review to find out all the reasons I loved it!
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 like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother disapproves, and when they get into an explosive fight, Kimi’s entire future seems on the verge of falling apart. 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’s met with a culture both familiar and completely foreign to her. She loses herself in the city’s outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival — and meets Akira, a cute aspiring med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. And 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.
While I knew I was going to love Kimi – talk about a character with an amazing fashion sense and is so utterly relatable – what I ended up loving the most was the discussion of family in I Love You So Mochi. Kimi feels like her mother knows her the best, so when they have a major falling out over Kimi’s lost passion for painting, she feels adrift. Her impulsive decision to visit her somewhat estranged grandparents in Japan starts her on a path both of self-discovery and exploring her relationship with her mother.
As Kimi begins to get to know Japan, she also discovers more about her own mother’s falling out with her grandmother. The ways our expectations, fears, and doubts manifest in harsh words and silences we cannot take back. She begins to see her mother’s own decisions. The struggles she had to break away from her own parent’s expectations, to follow her own heart and dream. I loved the parallel of navigating this discovery, with Kimi’s own quest for self-discovery, and her own family history.
I Love You So Mochi is a tender story about mothers and daughters. About finding our own voice and passion while balancing family. To realizing that our family’s expectations should not dictate our own path. The heavy weight of the guilt and pressure of someone else’s dreams on your shoulders. Kuhn is also able to balance Kimi’s new knowledge about her mom in a way that is similar to Harley in Harley in the Sky. When reality intrudes on our dreams, will we put our dreams aside or work to make them soar?
This element is certainly my favorite part of Kimi’s story, but I also loved her best friends (and I need more stories of Kimi and their adventures) and the romance story line. Talk about swoony, absolutely precious, and full of so much happy smiling. Kimi’s journey of self-discovery, particularly of her own identity through art, was a stunning adventure of mystery and passion. The idea that we can know ourselves through our art, see the evolution of ourselves on the page.
I Love You So Mochi is just an all around hit! I cannot more highly recommend this story if you’re in the mood for a book that will make you smile and your heart warm. Find I Love You So Mochi on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.