This book was absolutely stunning. Emiko Jean has quickly become a favorite author for me! I love the cultural perspective she provides, and the stories that tug at my heart strings! Read this if you enjoy strong character growth, family stories, and imperfect lives.
Mika is living a messy life. She’s 35 without a job, constantly needing money from her parents, never able to live up to the traditional Japanese expectations of her parents, and she her most recent relationship just crashed and burned.
And then she gets a phone call from Penny and everything changes. You see, Mika gave Penny up for adoption 16 years ago, but they have never spoken before. They begin to get to know each other over the phone, but Mika finds herself creating the perfect life for herself as she inflates and adjusts the truth.
When Penny announces that she’s coming to meet and spend time with Mika, she finds herself trying to make this fantasy life become a reality.
This is about so many things, and I loved them all.
👉 Mika finding a way to make her dreams a reality
Mika hasn’t really figured out what to do with her career and her life. She’s been coasting for a long time, and when Penny comes into her life, we get to see Mika evolve. She begins to find a fire to push herself forward.
👉 Mika and Penny forming a relationship
This was such an interesting dynamic. Penny has never spoken to Mika before this phone call, and she’s curious about her birth mother. Mika finds herself wanting to make a good impression, and there’s a real struggle for her to find her way in this new dynamic.
👉Mika and Penny’s dad navigating new parental bond
Penny wanting to get to know Mika after Penny’s adoptive mother’s death creates mixed feelings for her dad. As they get to know each other, they find common ground to bond over.
Overall, I enjoyed this entire story. I loved Mika’s growth as the story progressed. I appreciated the ups and downs that she experiences, and I felt like it was pretty “real life”. I highly recommend this one!!
⚠️⬇️ The below content warnings contain spoilers. ⬇️⚠️
Sexual assault, rape, teenage pregnancy, adoption.
Where to Find This Book:
One phone call changes everything.
At thirty-five, 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 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.
The details of Mika’s life might be an illusion, but everything she shares with curious, headstrong Penny is real: her hopes, dreams, flaws, and Japanese heritage. The harder-won heart belongs to Thomas Calvin, Penny’s adoptive widower father. What starts as a rocky, contentious relationship slowly blossoms into a friendship and, over time, something more. But can Mika really have it all—love, her daughter, the life she’s always wanted? Or will Mika’s deceptions ultimately catch up to her? In the end, Mika must face the truth—about herself, her family, and her past—and answer the question, just who is Mika in real life?
Perfect for fans of Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age, Gayle Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and Rebecca Serle’s In Five Years, Mika in Real Life is at once a heart-wrenching and uplifting novel that explores the weight of silence, the secrets we keep, and what it means to be a mother.
In this brilliant new novel by from Emiko Jean, the author of the New York Times bestselling young adult novel Tokyo Ever After, comes a whip-smart, laugh-out-loud funny, and utterly heartwarming novel about motherhood, daughterhood, and love—how we find it, keep it, and how it always returns.
Just the Facts:
Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean
Genre: Womens Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Pub Date: August 2, 2022
I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.