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Mika in Real Life: A Novel

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Without giving too much of the book away, let me just say that this story is filled with humor and insightful observations. Mika is a beautifully flawed character that you will root for from the start. The side characters are also well written and interesting. There is a trauma alluded to early on in the book which is slowly explored throughout the story. The effects caused Mika to halt her dreams. The toll that took on her life was captivated in the following line: Mika is at her lowest point when she receives a phone call from Penny—the daughter she placed for adoption sixteen years ago. Penny is determined to forge a relationship with her birth mother, and in turn, Mika longs to be someone Penny is proud of. Faced with her own inadequacies, Mika embellishes a fact about her life. What starts as a tiny white lie slowly snowballs into a fully-fledged fake life, one where Mika is mature, put-together, successful in love and her career. And so, I use some of my own experiences as a young person. Like what I looked like, and thinking that the world was at my feet, and I was gonna conquer it and do something really great. It’s kind of a hard truth to learn that, you know, that’s not always the case. The other thing that drives me are themes that I want to explore. So in particular, I’m really passionate about what it means to be a yellow body in America and what the Asian American experience looks like. And the other thing that drove this book was trauma and how we heal and move on from trauma.

At 35, Mika Suzuki’s life is a mess. Her last relationship ended in flames. Her roommate-slash-best friend might be a hoarder. She’s a perpetual disappointment to her traditional Japanese parents. And, most recently, she’s been fired from her latest dead-end job. Mika is a Japanese-American woman in her mid-30s who's life looks nothing like the one she had once imagined. Mike is a a low point when her daughter she had given up for adoption 16 years earlier, reaches out to her, hoping to connect.KT: For sure, and I think that a lot of people will relate to that idea of feeling like you have to have certain milestones at a particular age.

Took me forever to get through this one because life got in the way and I wasn't necessarily pulled to read it. Overall satisfying and great characters and storyline.Would recommend if you’re into a life-affirming theme like this, a story of healing and second chances; one that would juggle your heart making you cry and smile at the same time. I go for 5 stars to this; shelved it as my fav too! Mika is a bit unmoored. The daughter of strict, traditional Japanese parents, she has never really lived up to anyone’s expectations, least of all her own. She has been single for a year, her last relationship ending in a fiery dispute with no solid resolution. She has a ride-or-die best friend, Hana, who she lives with, but their home is not tidy or cozy thanks to Hana’s late-night QVC binges. And she just got fired…again. Mika is drowning her sorrows in the brightly lit aisles of Target when her cell phone rings and changes everything. The voice on the other end is new to her but familiar to her heart: Penny, the daughter she gave up for adoption 16 years ago when she was only a freshman in college. This is a deep and heartwarming story. Woven throughout, we learn of Japanese culture, language, and traditions. It also covers transracial adoption, mother-daughter issues and sexual assault, which are written about sensitively. The characters are likeable and well fleshed out. I liked reading how Mika and Penny were trying to get to know each other. This is a beautifully written story. EJ: I think it’s really universal. When you have a kid, there’s all this stuff where it’s supposed to be innate. Like you’re supposed to know how to care for your baby. Like it’s just supposed to be all natural and wonderful. And I didn’t know s--t [about] taking care of babies. So, I think a lot of women have felt like that before.

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