Title: Home by Kat Santos
Release Date: September 6th 2012
Published by: Flipside Publishing
Source: Publisher (Thanks Charles!)
Buy: Amazon | FlipReads
When 23-year-old Maya got herself a one-way ticket to Japan, she had only one thought in mind: Gemini. Never mind her family’s disapproval, the low-paying job she had just accepted, the cramped apartment she was going to live in, all the bowls of instant ramen she would subsist on; she had to meet her favorite band, see them play live. Most of all, she wanted to see him. The lead guitarist. Shin.
Three months later, she is penniless, still friendless, and haunted by the comforts of home. Then she meets him, swathed in the smoke of his menthol Luckies, thrumming an imaginary guitar. In the empty parking lot of a little club in Shibuya—this is where the aftermath of a dream begins.
I was expecting a lot from this novel, maybe because the Jrock fan and japanophiliac in me wants details, an authentic feel to the whole experience of being a Jrock fan because I know how it feels like to be one. I am one. And I was so surprised, because this novel just took me back to that place. Not only did I feel so nostalgic while reading of familiar places like Zepp Tokyo, Shibuya and Yokohama, I also found myself responding to both Shin and Maya's experiences as their relationship bloom.
Home called out to the inner romantic in me. What if it was possible? What if a fan falls in love with her idol and made it through all the ups and downs, the demands of the relationship? Maya followed her heart, against all odds, and found herself in Japan, the one place she's dreamt of going to. But life is hard, and Maya's starting to think if that's all there is to it in Japan. She was barely getting by with her wage, she was lonely and she didn't have a lot of friends. Those little details of how sad life can be when you're all alone in a foreign country, I'm amazed at how spot on the author is with expressing and showing to the readers what it's like, and it made me appreciate the novel even more.
What can I say? Shin was your typical Jrock star. I can compare him to a number of Jrock personalities that I like, and he's just like them. Beneath all the glamorous lifestyle, the make up, the music, he's just Shin. Someone who falls in love with the last person he expects to. Shin had his own emotional baggage he carries around, and I like how despite his imperfections, he's serious when he needs to be. He was that typical embodiment of a musician, a wounded soul in search for someone he can laugh with, eat with, tease, ponder life with, that special someone who can make his heart race, his head ache, and ultimately make him feel alive.
Maya had this quirky personality that puzzled me from the start. I can relate to her in some ways, even when her personality throws me off a bit. But there's one thing she worries about that I can't help but agree with: falling in love was never easy. The way her paths crossed with Shin and intertwined just like that was hard to believe. It's good to be a little pessimistic at times, but the insecurities Maya felt were not born out of nothing. The difference between her and Shin's lifestyle, the language barrier, the culture, all of those are things that they must overcome. But you know what I liked about their love story? Despite Maya being a bit crazy at times, Shin was the only person who can understand her and assure her that it won't happen. Shin was the person who believed that it will work. It's easy to give up, but this is that one, rare instance where love sometimes is enough to break barriers and bring two people together.
I fell in love with the magic of Kat Santos' writing. She took me back to Japan and brought out the side of me that longs to go back to there and experience it all over again. It's hard to believe that this story has been done out of pure research, because Kat knows what she's writing about, and they're spot on, from the Jrock culture, to the way the fans behave.
Home is an endearing, bittersweet love story with a dash of fun and a little sprinkle of conflict and sadness on the side. A little cliche, but who cares? It's a love story that makes one feel really warm inside and believe the wonders love can do to two people. It doesn't matter where you came from, who you are, or how crazy you can be, love happens when you least expect it, and when it does, when you know the feeling is real, don't let it go.
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Content (plot, story flow, character):
This is that book I want to write but I never can. Kat Santos is an author to watch out for, that's for sure. I want to read more of her works!
Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!
Lovely, just lovely!