December 12, 2018

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

Author: Rachel Cohn 
Release Date: December 18, 2018  
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 
Formats: Hardcover, eBook 
Pages: 384 

Find it:Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD 

"I'm here to take you to live with your father. In Tokyo, Japan! Happy birthday!" 

In the Land of the Rising Sun, where high culture meets high kitsch, and fashion and technology are at the forefront of the First World's future, the foreign-born teen elite attend ICS-the International Collegiate School of Tokyo. Their accents are fluid. Their homes are ridiculously posh. Their sports games often involve a (private) plane trip to another country. They miss school because of jet lag and visa issues. When they get in trouble, they seek diplomatic immunity. 

Enter foster-kid-out-of-water Elle Zoellner, who, on her sixteenth birthday discovers that her long-lost father, Kenji Takahari, is actually a Japanese hotel mogul and wants her to come live with him. Um, yes, please! Elle jets off first class from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, which seems like a dream come true. Until she meets her enigmatic father, her way-too-fab aunt, and her hyper-critical grandmother, who seems to wish Elle didn't exist. In an effort to please her new family, Elle falls in with the Ex-Brats, a troupe of uber-cool international kids who spend money like it's air. But when she starts to crush on a boy named Ryuu, who's frozen out by the Brats and despised by her new family, her already tenuous living situation just might implode. 

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is about learning what it is to be a family, and finding the inner strength to be yourself, even in the most extreme circumstances. 
Chapter Two

You know my father?” I asked quietly, trying to hold back the rush of emotions swirling in my heart, my stomach, my brain, every cell in my body.

“I do,” said Uncle Masa. “And he would very much like to know you.”

“Is this a joke?”

“I wouldn’t joke about a matter this serious,” said Uncle Masa.

“Well, maybe you should. Because the idea of even having a father is a joke to me. Where has that guy been all my life and why the fuck would I go live with him?”

Mabel never smiled or frowned; it was like her face’s only mission was just to get through the day without emotional expression. Tersely, she said, “You know the rules, Elle. You’re free to vent your anger, but I will not tolerate impolite language.”

“I’m not going,” I said to Mabel. “You can’t make me.” “I have no intention of making you go. It’s your choice,” said Mabel.

I started to walk down the street, just to get away from this nonsense. Hadn’t I been through enough already? But Uncle Masa hurried after me. He made it past me, turned around, and bowed again, trying to block my way. “Listen to me, Elle.”

I saw the living room window blind creep open at Foster Home #3’s no-hot-water-except-on-Wednesdays house. Foster Parent was clearly spying.

“Your father would be honored for you to come stay with him in Tokyo,” said Uncle Masa, sounding very formal, like he was the butler for this “father” of mine.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. I haven’t seen you since I was in middle school—and by the way, my life went to hell in that time—and now you’re here with an invitation for me to live with my father, when you never even told me you knew my father? No way. Just, no. And...and...” I was starting to sputter. There was too much to say, to ask, to know already. “And why is he suddenly ready to be in my life...but can’t even be bothered to show up in person?”

Reggie’s dad was a military hero killed in an ambush in the Middle East when Reggie was only five. Reggie had his dad’s photos, his medals, his letters. Reggie’s dad was real. He existed. He loved his son, even though he left Reggie way too early. But Reggie had all the proof— and the memories. All I’d ever gotten was evasive answers about “Mr. Tokyo” from my mother, who shut down each conversation by saying the subject hurt her too much to talk about. I’d never thought of myself as a person who had a father. Girls on TV had them, not people like me. Dads: just some fantasy created by Hollywood.

Mabel caught up to us. She said, “My understanding is your father wasn’t able to be part of your life in the past. Now he is.”

“What’s his name?” I asked.

Mabel rifled through some papers in the notebook she always carried. “Kenji Takahara.” After all these years of wondering who my real father was, I couldn’t believe I was finding out from a social worker of all people. There was an actual name attached to this fantasy.

“Why should I believe this Kenji Takahara guy is my father?” I asked. “I mean, come on. Absent biological fathers don’t just drop out of the sky.”

Uncle Masa looked up to the sky. I forgot how he took statements literally. His English was excellent, but it was not his native language and he often didn’t get turns of phrase. “Come with me,” said Uncle Masa. “I’ll show you.”

I let him lead me back toward the fancy car. He opened the back door, retrieved some documents from his brief- case, and handed one to me. “Here is your birth certificate. Your father’s name is right there. Kenji Takahara.”

There it was, a birth certificate issued by the State of Maryland, with my name and date of birth on it. Mother: Brandy Zoellner. Father: Kenji Takahara.

Uncle Masa held up more documents for me to inspect. “You see? This is your mother’s signed consent form authorizing you to go live with him. This is your plane ticket.”

“Wait. What? You saw my mom? When?”

Uncle Masa said, “I haven’t seen her. I’ve been in touch with her through a lawyer.” He bowed to Mabel. “She saw your mother to get the form signed.”

Even I hadn’t seen my mom since she’d gone to Jessup Correctional Institute three months ago. Every week Mabel gave me the option of going. Every week I declined. Not ready. Too mad. I was grateful Mom was alive, of course—but her addiction had ruined both our lives. I knew prison was difficult—how could it not be? But to see her face-to-face would require too painful an acknowledgment of how difficult my own life in foster care, without her, had also become. All Mom’s fault.

I looked accusingly at Mabel. “Why didn’t you tell me any of this before?”

Mabel said, “I was instructed not to, in case it didn’t work out. We didn’t want to give you false hope.”

“I don’t believe you.” I wasn’t sure if I was addressing Mabel, or Uncle Masa, or the whole rotten universe.

“Then you can verify it with your mother yourself,” said Mabel, looking at her watch. “She’s expecting you, and I assured her I would deliver you to her this time. Visiting hours today end at four p.m. If we leave right now, we’ll get to Jessup in enough time.”

“What if I say no?” I asked Mabel.

Mabel looked toward #3’s house. The blinds closed suddenly.

The chauffeur held open the passenger door for us to get in.

Mabel confidently stepped into the car. Go directly to Jail, do not pass Go.
Rachel Cohn is the bestselling, award-winning author of many books. She lives in Los Angeles with two very cool cats named McNulty and Bunk. 

(3) winners will receive finished copies of MY ALMOST FLAWLESS TOKYO DREAM LIFE - US only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 


Tour Schedule: 
Week One: 
12/3/2018- Novel Novice- Excerpt 
12/4/2018- Here's to Happy Endings- Review 
12/5/2018- A Court of Coffee and Books- Excerpt 
12/6/2018- BookHounds YA- Review 
12/7/2018- A Gingerly Review- Review 
Week Two: 
12/10/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert- Review 
12/11/2018- Do You Dog-ear?- Review 
12/12/2018- A Dream Within A Dream- Excerpt 
12/13/2018- Daily Waffle- Excerpt 
12/14/2018- The Reading Corner for All- Review 
Week Three: 
12/17/2018- Lisa Loves Literature- Review 
12/18/2018- Eli to the nth- Review 
12/19/2018- Dani Reviews Things- Review 
12/20/2018- The Pages In-Between- Review 
12/21/2018- Sincerely Karen Jo Blog- Review 
Week Four: 
12/24/2018- Falling For YA- Interview 
12/25/2018- Smada's Book Smack- Review 
12/26/2018- All the Ups and Downs- Excerpt 
12/27/2018- Confessions of a YA Reader- Review 
12/28/2018- Wishful Endings- Excerpt 
Week Five: 
12/31/2018- Under the Book Cover- Excerpt 

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