Review: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life
by Rachel Cohn
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication date: Dec. 18, 2018
Genre: Young Adult

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.



My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is the story of a foster kid who not only finds out that her father is some bigwig in Japan, but he’s also asked her to come and live with him. Elle gets whisked away to Tokyo to live with her rich father in his high-rise building. Not only does she go from rags to riches overnight, but she also goes through a culture shock as she tries to navigate the Japanese culture.

I’m not overly sure how I feel about this story. On one hand, I really liked getting to see Japan through Elle’s eyes. However, the characters themselves left me wanting more. Elle’s character, well technically all of the characters, were one dimensional. I never found myself caring about what happened one way or the other. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in the story. I mean, Elle is whisked away to a foreign country to meet a family she never knew existed. That should be exciting stuff, but the characters just seemed to over the top that it felt as if they were written in such a way to elicit a reaction, instead of it feeling genuine. Honestly, that’s kind of how the majority of the story felt for me.

One thing I did really like was getting to see Japan through Elle’s eyes. I’ve always wanted to visit Japan and getting to witness some of her adventures was pretty cool. From riding the subway to paying for merchandise, there was a lot that Elle had to learn. For me, those parts were always the most interesting.

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life was an okay read. The plot and characters need to be fleshed out a bit more, and I felt like the ending came rather abruptly. I was really looking forward to this story, and while I did enjoy the little bits of Japanese culture, I wish I had connected with the story itself more.




7 Thoughts on “Review: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

  1. Sorry to hear you didn’t like it as much as you’d have hoped.

  2. Sorry this one didn’t work out as well as expected. Hugs…RO

  3. Sorry this one wasn’t better for you. It sounds like the story did have some promise but I would need to feel something for the characters as well.

  4. Just peeking in to wish you Happy New Year! Hugs…RO

  5. I love reading about new (to me) locals. Too bad the overall story fell flat though.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

  6. This isn’t something I’d read but I found myself super curious by the blurb!
    Sucks it didn’t meet expectations. 🙁

  7. Oh that’s too bad the characters were lacking :/ Makes it hard.

Jump in on the discussion: click on the notify button below to follow along

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation