Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
A time-travel story that alternates between modern day and 19th century Japan as one girl confronts the darkness lurking in her soul.
No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own.My thoughts:
This one sounded perfect for the season. And it is also from a prospective we rarely get in YA. This one travels from contemporary Japan and 19th c. Japan. This also has the bisexual aspect that factors in a big way here as it becomes Reiko, our main character, primary reason and justification in what she does in the story. I think the cultural aspects and also the bisexual aspect of the story were handled well and with some sensitivity.
As much as I loved the setting and background of our main character, I didn't really like her until the end. Granted you really weren't supposed to but instead of feeling her rage, she felt like a spoiled brat that railed against perceived wrongs done to her. I don't know if she was really justified in her feelings since I couldn't get beyond her idea of vengeance.
The story does involve a spirit trying to take over Reiko in the present trying to wreck havoc on all those surrounding her. She also travels back into this spirit's time period and finds someone not unlike her who ends up trying to relive her bloody vengeance. At one point neither Reiko or the reader knows where one ends and the other begins and this is where she is forced to either complete the spirit's mission or find it within herself to find herself and who she wants to be in life. What I found frustrating with this part is that she knew it was history, talked about going to find out what happened and then never followed through. I so wanted to shake her at times and couldn't wait for her to wise up and figure things out like you already knew she... well... knew!
The ending was a bit too easy and a bit quick for the buildup but it was complete. She even looked at her other relationships and figured out where she fit in the most important ones. We also finally find out what she really did in her relationship that started her on this path.
I give this book 3 stars. I like the worldbuilding and the aspects of the characters. While I had problems with Reiko's character, she did grow and I did like that aspect. Things were too easily wrapped up but were complete. I think this ends up evening out the book and is a good book for the October season.