Reviewed by Heather Durow
Lisa Falloya has lived in a small town her whole life, working at a boring but comfortable job and dating a man who seems to have a plan for everything. Being half-Japanese, she has always harbored a love for comic books, especially Japanese Anime and Manga. So when a big Japanese publishing company holds a contest at the annual Comic-Con, Lisa enters with the belief that she couldn’t possibly win. Her friends have to practically peel her off the floor when she hears her name announced as the winner, a prize that includes a yearlong internship–in Japan.
After much pressure from her friends and boyfriend, she books her flight and is on her way to Toyko to stay with a host family for the next year. Things don’t start out as she hoped however, and Lisa finds herself living in a tiny condo with a 12-year-old boy who, instead of going to school, sits on the couch all day (and into the wee hours of the morning) blasting music and video games; his sister, who parties late and comes home even later; and doormat parents. When the first week at her internship turns out to be less than thrilling, surrounded by timid co-workers and benign busy work, Lisa wants to turn tail and head home. But after giving it time (and having her friends insist she give it a chance), she stumbles into friendships and a job that she loves, with career-making possibilities.
Unfortunately, just when Lisa is getting into a groove in her temporary home, things back in the States start to pressure her into deciding what she really wants in life. And the result is not what anyone expected.
Well written with a likable main character, Turning Japanese, is a unique story with unpredictable turns. Although, slow paced at times and a bit repetitive, it is a nice story of coming into your own, no matter what the costs.
Armchair Interviews says: Interesting read.
Author’s Web site: http://www.CathyYardley.com