Title: Swimming to Tokyo
Author: Brenda St. John Brown
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: July 28, 2014
Format: Paperback, 315 Pages
ISBN-10: 1939392349 (Spencer Hill Press)
ISBN-13: 978-1939392343 (Spencer Hill Press)
Reviewed by: Bridget
The rules for swimming are simple:
Rule #1: There is no lifeguard on duty.
Since her mom died three years ago, nineteen-year-old Zosia Easton’s been treading water. Living at home. Community college. Same old Saturday nights. So when her father breaks the news he’s taken a job transfer—and by the way, it means renting out the house that’s been her refuge—a summer in Tokyo feels like it just might be a chance to start swimming again.
Rule #2: Beware of unexpected currents.
Finn O’Leary has spent God knows how many years trying to drown out his past. Juvenile detention. Bad decisions. Worse choices. He’s managed to turn it around – MIT, Dean’s List, a sexier-than-thou body with a smile to match – at least on the surface. When his mom asks him to spend the summer with her, Tokyo seems as good a place as any to float through the summer.
Rule #3: Swim at your own risk.
Quick & Dirty: Emotional, gorgeous new adult romance that I devoured. All romance fans need to pick this one up!
Opening Sentence: I wipe my nose on the sleeve of my T-shirt, right across the pink Nike swoosh. Disgusting, but it can’t be helped.
Zosia Easton’s mother died a couple of years ago and she’s never quite been the same. She hasn’t taken any risks because she felt like she’s had enough heartache in her life and she doesn’t think she would be able to deal with more. She has a best friend, a loving family, not much of a love life, but at the moment she’s content. But she knows that she is stuck in a rut and she can’t stay there forever. So when her father suggests that she spend the summer in Tokyo with him she decides it’s probably a great opportunity to start over. Then she runs into Finn O’Leary, the boy she has had a crush on ever since high school. Her summer goes from being a relaxing experience to something much more. Finn might be her new start, but she soon realizes that love is complicated and she will have to be patient if she wants their relationship to last!
Finn hasn’t always made the best choices in life and he has had some pretty serious consequences because of it. But he finally has his life back on track, he is attending MIT, on the Dean’s List, and has managed to stay out trouble. But some scars run deep and no matter how much you try to cover them up they never seem to go away. Spending the summer with his mother in Tokyo seems like the perfect way to relax and have a good time. What he didn’t expect was that he would fall for a girl that he would never be good enough for!
Zosia is a very easy character to like and I felt like I could relate to her. She is smart, cute, and fun, but she also has a fair amount of insecurities. She is naturally a little on the reserved side and after her mother passed away she pretty much lost all her motivation to really succeed. She didn’t start failing or getting in trouble but in areas of her life where she really excelled she just became more average. As the story progresses she slowly comes out of her shell and you finally get to see her to start living life to the fullest. I thought she was a wonderful character and I really enjoyed reading her story!
Finn is one sexy guy that I complete fell head over heels for. He has to deal with a lot of inner struggles and watching him heal was inspirational. He is already a good guy, he just needs to realize that he is. With his background and genetic makeup he feels like he’s doomed to fail, but ultimately it is his choice who he becomes. I have always been a fan of hot broken guys and he definitely fits in that category.
I loved the relationship between Finn and Zosia, it was insanely cute! They have seriously hot chemistry and are very compatible. I’ve always been a sucker for when a friendship becomes more, but what I love most about this relationship was we got to see their friendship develop first and then the romance come later. Their relationship is definitely not easy but it teaches you that a good thing is worth fighting for no matter how hard it gets.
Swimming to Tokyo is an emotional, beautiful romance that I completely loved. The characters in the story were so engaging and I really could sympathize with their stories. There’s tons of great sexual tension that kept me intrigued and the book is extremely fast-paced, so I got through it super quick. I thought the setting was gorgeous and while I’ve never been to Tokyo this made me really want to go and see some of the historical sites there. There were definitely some funny moments that helps to lighten the mood of the story but there was also some very emotional times that really pulled at your heartstrings. Basically, from the very beginning of the story I was totally hooked and read the entire book in one sitting. I honestly can’t say enough good things about it, so if you are a new adult contemporary romance fan this needs to go on your to read list right now. You can thank me later when you enjoy it as much as I did!
“It’s okay, Mom. It is. I’m just freaking out a little. I’m not ready for this. I mean, it’s cool, but I just didn’t think things would change until…”
“Until what?” The voice is soft and close in the dark.
My eyes fly open and I lurch off the swing. A hand catches my wrist, but I yank it away as soon as I’ve got my footing. “Jesus Christ. What are you doing?”
When I look up, my heart drops to my knees.
Finn O’Leary, as I live and breathe. Standing a foot away from me. It’s dark, but I know it’s him by the line of his jaw, the smooth buzz of his hair. His white T-shirt glows in the moonlight, and it’s the thing I can see most clearly about him. “I…nothing. What are you doing?”
“Nothing. Seriously, what are you doing here and why are you sneaking up on me?” My voice is loud and hard, and my pulse throbs in the back of my knees now.
“Whoa. Hey. I’m not sneaking up on you.” He takes a step back and holds his hands up like I’m threatening him.
“Really? What would you call it?” I can’t really see Finn’s expression, but in the back of my mind I wonder if I should be worried. I don’t even have my phone with me and it’s not like I know him very well. We had a bunch of random exchanges in high school, but comments on the lunch menu can hardly be called a conversation.
“I just…I saw you and I came to see if you were okay. You shouldn’t be here at night by yourself.” His tone hasn’t changed; it’s still soft and even. But, wow, his voice is deep. Has it always been? I’m sure he sounded different that day I saw him in Walgreens. Didn’t he?
FTC Advisory: Spencer Hill Press provided me with a copy of Swimming to Tokyo. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.