Welcome to The Cover Contessa's blog tour stop for Swimming To Tokyo by Brenda St. John Brown!Blurb from Goodreads:
The rules for swimming are simple:
Rule #1: There is no lifeguard on duty.
Since her mom died three years ago, nineteen-year-old Zosia Easton’s been treading water. Living at home. Community college. Same old Saturday nights. So when her father breaks the news he’s taken a job transfer—and by the way, it means renting out the house that’s been her refuge—a summer in Tokyo feels like it just might be a chance to start swimming again.
Rule #2: Beware of unexpected currents.
Finn O’Leary has spent God knows how many years trying to drown out his past. Juvenile detention. Bad decisions. Worse choices. He’s managed to turn it around – MIT, Dean’s List, a sexier-than-thou body with a smile to match – at least on the surface. When his mom asks him to spend the summer with her, Tokyo seems as good a place as any to float through the summer.
Rule #3: Swim at your own risk
Title: Swimming to Tokyo
Author: Brenda St. John Brown
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Expected Publication date: July 29, 2014
RATING: 5/5 STARS
I want to thank Spencer Hill Contemporary for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. I will let you know that, yes, I do work for Spencer Hill Press as a publicist and no, this did not influence my opinion or review. The book on it's own is fabulous and no matter the publisher it needs to be read!
To say I was pleasantly surprised by this book is an understatement. I loved the concept from the moment I read the blurb. I'm very into contemporary books right now. But I am also extremely picky about them because they have to have fabulous characters, an interesting plot, and some basis in reality. This book has all three and more.
Zosia (Zo, Zoe) really surprised me in this book. At the start, I was sure she was going to be so resistant to Tokyo that the book would focus on how much she hated her life while there. However, I was happy to see her embrace Tokyo and her situation, as much as she was reluctant to go at first. Zosia is strong minded and independent and can easily take care of herself with no assistance. Not surprising that she adapts fairly well once abroad. She misses her life back in the states, but she's willing to take a chance to figure out what there is for her in Tokyo. She also has quite a bit of snark and there is nothing fake about her at all.
Enter Finn. Yup, this is a boy you are going to LOVE. Does he have demons, oh yes he does. And they keep him closed off from Zosia for many parts of the book. But this just lends to his intrigue (and for me the bad boy status is such a turn on in male characters I am immediately drawn to them). And his connection with Zosia cannot be denied. He's a swoon worthy book boyfriend for sure. I think my favorite thing about Finn is that he comes across as this bad boy, but he's super intelligent and has gone from battling his demons to coming to terms with them and turning his life around. He's not perfect, but believe me, you will overlook it. Just keep in mind that he has good intentions and wants to keep everyone around him, especially those he cares for, safe.
I love how Finn and Zosia explore Japan, while exploring themselves. The way Brown develops the characters makes you fall for them completely. I would imagine anyone would be hard pressed not to connect with them on some level. There was nothing about either character that I did not love.
Having never visited Japan, I can't say that I know where anything is. But that really didn't matter, Brown did a great job with her descriptions and I felt like I was there with the characters exploring the temples and marketplaces, the restaurants and tourist attractions.
I love how Finn and Zosia slowly open up to each other, and let their demons out. Typical of a contemporary is the angst that comes along with their growing relationship: Zosia's uncertainty of letting him in and whether or not he wants to allow it. She keeps almost everyone at a safe distance, fearing heartbreak as she had when her mother died. But she's strong and determined at the same time, and slowly realizes that perhaps Finn is just the person she needs to let in.
Brown's writing is truly great. The flow is easy, her pacing is spot on. There was never a time that I wanted to put this book down. It completely and totally engulfed me. She writes funny scenes, sexy scenes, and heart wrenching scenes with all the emotion you would expect. There's tons of struggling in this book. Prepare to have Brown throw your emotions all about!
Lovers of Colleen Hoover and Cora Carmack will definitely enjoy this fun, funny, sexy and emotional read by Brown!
Brenda St John Brown is a displaced New Yorker living in the English countryside. She hasn't quite adapted to the idea of fireworks in November (despite now being a dual US/UK citizen), but she knows not to call trousers pants & often finds herself saying things are lovely...a word that never crossed her lips until she passed through UK immigration. She writes YA & NA fiction. When she's not writing, Brenda loves running, reading and traveling, & talking about Greek mythology with her son.