13 new YA releases that belong on your May reading list

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean. Image courtesy Flatiron Books
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean. Image courtesy Flatiron Books /
13 of 14
Tokyo Ever After May book cover
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean. Image courtesy Flatiron Books /

May 2021 release: Tokyo Ever After – Emiko Jean

Equal parts hilarious coming of age story, swoon-worthy enemies-to-lovers romance (brooding bodyguard alert!), and a heartfelt fish-out-of-water tale about family, identity, and finding your place in the world, Emiko Jean’s Tokyo Ever After is one of the buzziest YA titles headed our way this spring.

The novel follows Izumi Tanaka, a Japanese-American teen living with her single mom in a small, mostly white town in northern California…until she discovers that her long-lost father is none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. In a whirlwind, Izumi is whisked away to Tokyo to spend two weeks with the father she’s never met, in the country she’s always dreamt about…all while taking on her new title of Imperial Princess.

From its spunky narrator to its timely subject matter, it’s a story that will stick with you in the best ways.

The official synopsis describes the story in more detail.

"Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess. In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight. Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?"

Tokyo Ever After is available on May 18.