Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse | Book Review

I’ve got to be honest, a book titled Seven Days of You is not usually something that would appeal to me. It sounds incredibly fluffy and so I really wasn’t sure what to think going in, but I decided I’d give it a shot. It wasn’t at all what I expected.

This novel tells the story of Sofia, a teenage girl who, after living in Tokyo for the past four years, must return to the States with her family. The story takes place during her last week in Tokyo when an old friend comes back into her life and threatens to change everything.

As you’ll have noticed on Goodreads I gave this book a 3/5 stars, I think that needs a little explanation. In reality, I think I’d actually give it a 3.75… or a 3.5… Basically not quite a 4, but not as bad as a 3/5 makes it sound. This is definitely one of those times where I wish Goodreads would allow .5’s.

I didn’t find it at all surprising to find out that this book is semi-autobiographical, as Vinesse herself moved about between Tokyo, Paris and the States as a child. Ultimately, this has meant that the real character in this story is the city of Tokyo, and that all the other elements of this novel feel like a subplot.

For that reason, Tokyo is well represented in the story, obviously taking a lot of influence from Cecilia’s own experience as an expat in Tokyo city. This really helped the setting to feel very authentic and stopped the cultural details from seeming too extraneous, but rather it became a really integral part of the tale. I really enjoyed seeing all the Japanese cultural elements in the novel, especiall through the eyes of an expat who came from a more similar background to myself.

Since Tokyo isn’t technically a character, I suppose I should tell you a little bit about Sofia. I’ve been very lucky over the past month or so with my female protagonists. Unfortunately, I was not so lucky here. I’m not a huge fan of Sofa as a character, I didn’t find her all that relatable (despite the fact that I’ve literally been in her situation, facing leaving my friends and boyfriend and returning home to my family after a year in New Zealand), I just kept feeling like she made dumb decisions.  But don’t get me wrong, she’s no America Singer, who had me frequently yelling at the book, but she’s definitely no feminist hero either. She’s a typical angsty, teen girl who thinks that everything that happens to her is the end of the world – just your average YA protagonist really.

Her friends weren’t much better. I really didn’t like David as a character, he was just too much of a dick in my opinion, and I felt like it hindered my view of Sofia that she was friendly with him! Mika was slightly better, but still not amazing, to me, she felt like a punk reinvention of Lane from Gilmore Girls.

Once again, I’ve got to talk about her shitty family. I love a peaceful family dynamic in stories, especially in books where the family relationship doesn’t take centre stage. Personally, I felt more could have been done with her relationship with her mother and her sister, she always claimed to love them but I never really saw anything particularly admirable in their relationship. My mum always trusted me as a teen, but I still would never dream of leaving the house without telling her where I was going!

Then, of course, there’s the drama with her Dad which was just complete overkill. Between Jamie’s messed up family, Mika’s overbearing parents and Sofa’s relationship with her mum and sister, the whole saga with her Dad just felt like too much. Personally, I think the book could have stood up without it. It was enough that the parents split up, we didn’t need more drama and obviously didn’t contribute to her relationship with Jamie.

Speaking of Jamie, why don’t we talk about our epic love story? Even though the entire book takes places over the course of only a couple of days, I don’t think it felt too insta-lovey – which is quite impressive. I suppose the fact that they already knew each other helped. I liked a lot of aspects of their relationship, but I was not a fan of anything that happened during or after their fight. It was too dramatic and inconsistent with their characters in my mind.

After that ending, I’d be quite interested to read a novella set a few years in the future to see where they all ended up – it’s not a story I’m ready to leave just yet.

Overall, I did quite enjoy this. Like I said, it’s not quite a 4/5 stars, but a 3 seems a little low. I did like it, and it only took me a couple of days to read. If you want something light that won’t require you to think too much, or simply something to curb your wanderlust, I’d give it a shot when it comes out on the 9th March.

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