Anything to do with Japan interests me. I know next to nothing about the culture, even though I am part Japanese, but even fiction can teach you something. This Kelly Luce story makes me want to visit someday.
Rio is a nurse, a wife, and a mother. She lives in Colorado with her husband and daughter. When she receives mail saying that her father has passed away, she knows she must go back to her home country: Japan. She hasn’t been there in over twenty years.
Rio used to be someone else. Before she came to the US, she was Chizuru Akitani. She was the daughter of an American mother and Japan’s living national treasure, Hiro Akitani. She was also a murderer.
When Chizuru was twelve, she was bullied for being hafu– half Japanese. The worst of the bullying came from Tomoya. One day he went too far. The darkness inside Chizuru took over, and she killed Tomoya with a letter opener. After spending eight years in juvenile detention, Chizuru became Rio and left Japan behind.
Now Rio is back. She must face her old demons, including the fact that people may know her past. She meets new friends along the way, and reconnects with an old teacher. Rio also learns that her father wasn’t always the man she thought him to be.
Rio must use this trip to find peace with herself, and find out if Chizuru is still inside of her.
I love the culture of Japan. Rio remembers so many things from living there as a child, and she gets to reexperience it all as an adult. The way people interact and treat each other seems so vastly different from how it is in America, and it’s something Rio comments on multiple times.
This book is about finding out who you are, and accepting your past for what it is. It’s also about love, and being honest with those who love you.