Kite had a crush on his best friend since middle school, but never acted on it until the night before he left for the United States. When Kite kissed Shin, it forever changed their relationship. Shin survived the tsunami that took away his parents. When Kite tried to contact him in the aftermath, Shin pushed him away, telling him not to come back to Japan.
Two years later, Kite returns to Japan for his sister’s wedding and is determined to reconnect with his former best friend, except Shin doesn’t seem to be happy to see him at all. Can Kite and Shin ever go back to being friends?
This was a sweet friends to lovers novella set in Japan. Kite is half-Japanese, the son of a Japanese mother and American father. Shin is the son of two Japanese parents who held strong to traditional Japanese expectations for their only child. As a reader, I appreciated the details the author brought to the story, allowing readers to immerse themselves in a story set in a foreign land.
I loved the friends to lover theme. Kite and Shin were inseparable since middle school, despite Shin’s parents’ objections. On the eve of leaving for his yearly visit to the U.S., Kite kisses Shin. Months later, after hearing about the tsunami, Kite receives a message from Shin telling him not to come back. Two years later, Kite returns for his sister’s wedding and is determined to win his best friend back. When Kite arrives in Japan with no hotel reservations, he never expects Shin to turn him away. After managing to finally convince Shin to allow him to stay one night, Kite realizes that Shin isn’t the same person he left behind. Refusing to let Shin continue to shut him out, Kite tries to knock down some of the walls Shin has built around himself.
The characters are like oil and water, yet when you blend them together they balance each other out. Kite is self-assured, independent, and tends to do things on a whim. As a child he walked to the beat of a different drummer, never worried about being himself. Shin, on the other hand, is much more reserved and determined to fulfill his late parents’ wishes for who he should be…which means not being anything like Kite. While I found myself immediately liking Kite, I had a much harder time, at least initially, making any connection with Shin.
While I liked the storyline and characters in the story, I felt as if the book was much too short and open ended. The entire story takes place within a time span of a few days, most of which Shin is determined to push Kite away. While the story hints at a potential HEA, I felt unfulfilled and disappointed that there wasn’t something more for readers.