First of all, you’ve probably noticed the change in the header – the snazzy new design is courtesy of Just A Lil’ Lost, who just whipped this up casually after our most recent discussion. We have finally admitted that we love the brunch part of our book discussions (hey, admitting you have a problem is the first step), so we’ve now incorporated it into our name. As well, the colours are lovely and are fun! Thanks to Michele for her hard work!
As well, Michele has set up a newsletter that you can subscribe to in order to receive a reminder about our book club chats (just click the link to be directed to Michele’s page, where you can sign up for the newsletter). It won’t be often – just twice a month or so – and will be entirely devoted to the Brunch Book Club. Remember – anyone can join at any time. We tend to pick a date to meet, and anyone who is free is welcome to join in.
This month, we met for dinner at the wonderful cheesy world of Cheesewerks on Bathurst. Michele had never been, so was a little overwhelmed by all the options (so … many… options…). Chandra and I are old pros, and knew immediately what we would be ordering!
Main points of discussion:
- We liked the book. It’s a solid, decent read, and if we had been offered this book at 15, we would have loved it. Chandra pointed out that it would have hit every right note for her as Violet struck a lot of chords … uncomfortably so at times!
- There’s a LOT of detail about Japan and manga given in Violet’s point of view … until she actually gets to Japan and realizes how little she actually knows. The details drop off as Violet struggles to take it all in – and we really liked that. It was a very realistic response for Violet.
- We all felt that, since Violet was so well fleshed-out with her point of view, the other characters did suffer by comparison. When Violet’s best friend announces that she has been depressed during her time in Japan, each of us had had the same response of “Huh?” – it wasn’t clearly portrayed, and Reika came off as spoiled and uncaring at times.
- Violet’s father creeped each of us out at different times. There is no way I would have allowed my daughter to go to Japan with him, and we all agreed that we were surprised that he wasn’t part of the heist in some way. He never really did redeem himself, and we felt the loss of Violet’s mother in the book.
- Chandra and I were very glad that there wasn’t an “Insta-love” (TM) situation with a cute Japanese boy, especially after the American crush was packed off to camp with the mortal enemy and mysterious disappeared for the most of the book. It was kind of strange how he vanished from the story, but it was pointed out that it might have been too much for the story to hold. After reflection, we agreed that there was a LOT of stuff jammed into the story, and that the addition of a romance would have further muddied the waters.
- Chandra also pointed out that it followed the same path as the Ally Carter books, except that this one has a more serious tone.
- While we liked the cover, we did think that it gave an erroneous impression about the story. Michele said that the cover indicated that it would be a “Tokyo Fast & Furious” situation, but the story definitely didn’t go in that direction. I thought that the cover could have included more about the art, especially because I felt that the story really flew based on that aspect of the tale.
- I mentioned how much I liked Renn’s use of red herrings, and Michele agreed. Renn constantly kept us guessing about what might happen, and there were lots of twists and turns to keep things moving. I thought I knew what was happening so many times, but in reality I was off base a lot! Luckily, Michele said the same thing, so I was a little relieved to know that it wasn’t just me.
Overall, we liked Tokyo Heist, and while it might not be a “must read” for us, we also recognize that we aren’t the target audience; having said that, if this book had been out when we were each 15, we would have LOVED it. I will definitely be recommending it to anyone who wants a slightly different read in an unusual setting, and to those teens who are looking for something new and exciting.
Have you read Tokyo Heist? Have something you want to say? Be sure to join our Linky wrap-up, located over at Michele’s blog!
Next month’s read: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.