Swimming to Tokyo

Swimming to Tokyo

by Brenda St. John Brown


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781939392343
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication date: 12/09/2014
Pages: 315
Sales rank: 1,202,720
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Brenda St John Brown is a displaced New Yorker living in the English countryside. She hasn't quite adapted to the idea of fireworks in November (despite now being a dual US/UK citizen), but she knows not to call trousers pants & often finds herself saying things are lovely...a word that never crossed her lips until she passed through UK immigration. She writes YA & NA fiction. When she's not writing, Brenda loves running, reading and traveling, & talking about Greek mythology with her son.

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Swimming to Tokyo 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet, fun romance with a great voice, a vividly drawn setting in Tokyo, and a lot of heart.
christokes More than 1 year ago
It is always a fun adventure to embark on a new adult story and see what it brings to the table. This genre has been growing exponentially throughout the past years and it is one that can be wonderful but also overdone and cliché. Swimming to Tokyo was the perfect blend of New Adult without being overly angsty and sexual. It is everything you want to see in the genre, written beautifully from start to finish. There is drama, sex, passion, and a certain level of mystery but it is so well balanced that it weaves itself into a beautiful story that will draw you in and leave you stunned in the end! Swimming to Tokyo is a story of two people who take a journey as individuals and as a couple to find their place in the world. Zosia is a great female character who encompasses everything you look for in the genre. She has moments of self-doubt, learning, and ever growing confidence. She is learning to find her way and making the hard decisions for herself and on her own. She is still healing from the death of her mother and allowing her heart to live and love again. Finn is the epitome of bad boy with a soft spot. He exudes danger but it is used as a defense mechanism, to shield him from future hurt since his life has already met the maximum quota any person should have to deal with. He longs for the goodness and light he sees in Zosia but his past dictates his hesitation. He has moments of kindness and sweetness but they are balanced by a hardness that is not to be ignored. These two characters have a deep passion and connection. Their relationship is messy, a reality that is balanced well between the good and bad moments. I loved how they supported each other when a moment of inner healing and introspection takes place. When Finn needed someone to love him despite his mistakes and past, Zosia does just that but in a supportive way that allows the reader to fight with Finn for his peace, making the moment his moment and not necessarily theirs as a couple. It is the same with Zosia. I loved that theme. They are intertwined but so much of their strength comes from their individual struggles as well as their struggles together as a couple. One of my absolute favorite parts of this book is the cultural diversity. Zosia is part Polish. Her Babcui is a fabulous secondary character, a matriarch in her culture and loving figure for Zosia. I loved seeing her culture bleed into the story! Then we jet from the US to Japan, where a whole culture of strange and bright thing, coupled with a deep tradition and culture is developed. I loved how these cultures and new experiences were such an important part of the story. There are many moments when I laughed so hard (since I have experienced some of these things myself). I loved that the new world Zosia and Finn found themselves in added a new element that was fresh and intriguing to the story as a whole. If this is a debut novel, I cannot wait to see what Brenda St. John Brown has for us next. Fans of New Adult will love this fresh and emotional spin on the beloved New Adult tale!
LoriLovesBooks More than 1 year ago
This is why I read New Adult! I loved this book so much I stayed up half the night to finish to story. Zosia’s Mother died 3 years earlier and sometimes her life feels like it is on hold. She plans to start college in Rhode Island in the fall after a year of community college back home in New Jersey. Leaving home and the memories of her Mother that linger there is one of the hardest things she will have to do since her Mom’s death. So when her Father tells Zoe he is transferring to Tokyo for work and suggests Zoe accompany him for the summer, while renters live in their house, she feels like she is losing everything all over again. Add to that the new knowledge that her Dad has a girlfriend, and she is certainly in deep water. Finn transferred to Zoe’s high school senior year, and while she and every other female definitely noticed him, he barely gave anyone the time of day. After graduation he moves to Boston to attend MIT and Zoe doesn’t see him until a couple of unexpected interactions leave her wondering if there is more to him then bad boy good looks. When Zoe and her Dad arrive in Tokyo and meet a group of her Dad’s American co-workers, Zosia can’t believe her eyes to when she sees Finn; oh and his Mother happens to be her Dad’s new girlfriend. Zosia and Finn begin to spend time together, and the friendship that develops between them is pretty wonderful. Sometimes Finn and Zosia seem to be more real with one another than they ever have been in their lives, and other times you know they are holding so much back. As they navigate Tokyo and their new friendship, they find themselves having to face their pasts in order to have a future. I felt so much for Finn and I loved him with Zosia. This was just a beautiful story about love, forgiveness, and growing up and moving beyond who you thought you were. I also want to mention that I loved the author’s ability to bring Tokyo to life for me. I felt like the place was such an important part of the story. She also crafted interesting secondary characters like Zosia’s Babci (grandmother) and her best friend Mindy. The only thing I could ask for from this story is more. I was not ready to say good bye to these characters, *I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.*
nlforst More than 1 year ago
Read 4 Review: I received a copy of Brenda St. John Brown's Swimming to Tokyo from the group Never too old to read Y.A & N.A. books. In turn, I will give an honest review of the book. This post will be cross posted to GoodReads, my blog, and Barnes and Noble's page for the book. Overall, I gave the book a solid 3 stars with GoodRead's star ratings, but personally I'd give it more of a 3.5. Once I started reading, the book I didn't want to put it down. It was intriguing, and it was refreshing to see how these characters seemed "broken" to themselves, but couldn't see what others saw of themselves. To me that kind of made the book more realistic. Zosia and Finn went to the same high school, but she only had a crush on him from afar. He was a loner, she was popular. They haven't crossed paths until the eve of Zosia leaving for Tokyo for her father's job. Once they "reconnected" I kind of figured there'd be a lot more to them once they arrived in Tokyo. What started out as a friendship between two similar aged teens, turns into more when they both realize that together they are better than they are alone. I also enjoyed the research Ms. St. John Brown put into the story. Knowing about the different areas of Tokyo, and the trains kind of made me feel like I was there with Zosia (side note, ever since HBO's Girl's became popular, I see the name Zosia and think of Zosia Mamet and I had her face in mind every time I saw the name. Not that it is bad thing. I just kind of like creating an image of a book characters on my own, and not because a name makes me think of someone.) I also know I would have rated this higher if there had been some better editing. A couple times towards the end of the book, there were some missing words in sentences, and throughout the whole book I noticed missing quotation marks or conversations from two different characters placed on the same line and at times that made it confusing as to: was Zosia saying it or was Finn? While I breezed through the book, I also thought a lot happened in the last 80 or so pages. The first part of the book wasn't slow I do think something more could have been added in. Also this book made me cry. So if the loss of a loved one gets to you, make sure you have tissues handy. Would I recommend this book to others? Yes, I would I would tell them that this is a nice quick read. (If this was summertime this is the book I would have been reading on the beach and I don't think that is a bad thing either, it's just one of those that you'd want to read while sitting in a beach chair sipping a lovely drink). Overall, I really enjoyed Zosia and Finn's story of their summer in Tokyo. They got to experience amazing things in a completely different culture and that summer helped both characters move on from different circumstances in life.
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
I can't even begin to tell you just how much I loved Swimming to Tokyo – and I'm pretty sure my review won't do it justice – but I'm gonna try. From the minute I saw it on NetGalley and read the blurb, I knew I had to read it and that I would very likely love it. I was so right. Zosia's life is turned upside down pretty early on in this book. Her mom passed away a few years ago and she's still dealing with that loss. Now her dad tells her he's moving to Tokyo for work and he's going to rent out their home while he's gone. Oh, and he has a girlfriend who will be in Tokyo, too. Zosia agrees to accompany him to Tokyo for the summer. She's excited to shake things up a bit, but she doesn't know just what she's getting herself into. Imagine her surprise when she discovers the guy she has had a crush on since high school, a guy she's seen around town lately and had some pretty interesting encounters with, is her dad's girlfriend's son. He's spending some time in Tokyo this summer, too.  While there's a lot to love about this book, my favorite part, hands down, is the characters. I loved Zosia. She was a regular girl dealing with a loss that changed her life forever. She's not perfect and she's self-aware enough to know it. She was a regular girl and the type of person I'd be friends with in real life. She was strong, smart and sassy. Finn was sweet and swoony, but he hadn't always been. The boy had a real piece of work for a father and he spent his life thinking he was just like him. He's spent some time in juvie and has quite an illustrious reputation with the ladies. There's an undeniable attraction between Zosia and Finn from the beginning, but neither of them really think they're good enough for the other. Despite this, they begin to grow closer while they're in Tokyo. I loved watching them get to know each other and grow closer. Of course, the ticking clock of the time when they both leave Tokyo to head home hangs over both of their heads and they, along with the friends and family, have to wonder if this thing between them would have happened back in the US. Was it a convenience? Was it real? Would it last? Or would Zosia wind up with a broken heart, again, at the end of the summer? Is she willing to go against her dad's wishes and take a chance anyhow? There was a fair bit of drama throughout this book. There were misunderstandings and miscommunications, but none of them were TOO MUCH, if you know what I mean. Each of these characters were dealing with a lot, as well as each other's baggage, and it all felt real to me. I could sympathize with each of them, even if I wanted to scream at them and tell them to stop being ridiculous at times. But even with all the ups and downs, I loved how Zosia and Finn found both each other and themselves during their summer in Tokyo. There's a tremendous amount of character development for each of them. One of my favorite dynamics in this book was the one between Zosia and her grandmother. Babci and Zosia had a very special relationship and I'm sure most of that stems from her being a mother figure to Zosia after her mother passed away. She was often the voice of reason – and encouragement – when Zosia needed it most.  Swimming to Tokyo really is new adult contemporary at its best. It's an incredible debut book and is one of my favorites of the year so far. The portrayal of friendship, love and familial relationships in the book were real and genuine and completely believable. It was chock full of feels, emotions and sexy times. I'll definitely be looking for more from Brenda St. John Brown in the future.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.