cover image Mika in Real Life

Mika in Real Life

Emiko Jean. Morrow, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-321568-9

In Jean’s breezy adult debut (after the Tokyo Ever After YA fantasy series), a woman encounters the daughter she gave up for adoption. Mika Suzuki is recovering from a failed relationship and has just been laid off from her latest dead-end job in Portland, Ore., when she receives a call from Penny Calvin, whom she gave birth to 16 years earlier. Penny, who was raised in Ohio by white adoptive parents, and whose mother has died, wants to meet Mika. Mika, too, wants to meet but chooses to invent a more enviable version of herself, which means staging an elaborate and rickety deception involving a hunky boyfriend and ownership of an art gallery. When the ruse inevitably fails, in part because of the interference of Mika’s difficult Japanese mother, Mika is left to try to forge new, more realistic bonds with Penny—and with Penny’s attractive adoptive attorney father Thomas. Jean ties up the loose ends a bit neatly after a prolonged and increasingly steamy flirtation between Mika and Thomas, but there’s plenty to chew on about interracial adoption and the varieties of mother-daughter experience and conflict. Aside from the familiar rom-com subplot, this gets the job done nicely. Agent: Erin Harris, Folio Literary Management. (Aug.)