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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Book Review: Now and Zen by Linda Gerber

Nori Tanaka is thrilled to be studying abroad in Tokyo, Japan, but it isn't exactly what she had imagined. She expected tranquil gardens and swoopy-roofed houses, not concrete and neon. And everyone assumes that, with her traditional Japanese features, she's a native instead of the naïve Japanese-American that she really is. Even Erik, a gorgeous German student, mistakes Nori for Japanese, and treats her like a personal tour guide. Nori is sure that he'll like her for who she is once he gets to know her, so what harm can come of temporarily pretending to be Japanese? It doesn't take long to realize that she has a lot to learn about Japan, and about herself, before she can pass for a native. But after exploring the karaoke clubs in Tokyo, the peaceful temples in Kyoto, and the tranquil heights of Mt. Fuji, Nori knows she has a good chance of finding the hidden Japanese spirit and Zen mindset within herself.


I picked this up last friday at the library on a whim. I had been wanting to read Death By Bikini, also written by Linda Gerber, and thought, 'the hell with it!' I love all of the covers for the SASS series as well; SO CUTE! This book is extremely short, and that definately put a damper on things, but i still enjoyed this read. 

Gerber combined the Japanese culture with the teen frill quite well, making this novel and educational yet entertaining read.

Nori comes to Japan expecting the worst, but when she meets Erik, things start to look better. And there's also Natsushi, a boy who Nori thinks only spends time with her because he feels it is his job or obligation, and boy is she wrong, there. While Nori herself is not a great heroine--she does something very stupid related to a boy she likes (Erik), and takes a LOOONG time to realize how stupid she really is being, despite the many hints--I really enjoyed the descriptions of Kyoto and Tokyo. At the end of the book Nori finds out who her true friends are and most importantly she finds out who she really is.

I love to travel, (although i must say, i REALLY hate airplanes) and want to visit Japan, so this was a really interesting read for me. I enjoyed this book and i recommend it to teens who enjoy reading about different cultures.

In Now and Zen, the S.A.S.S. series travels to Japan in one of the most exotic--and fun--installments yet.



Bookworm said...

I love this series--I agree, the covers are cute! But there was just something about this one that I didn't really like....a little boring, and it took Nori FOREVER to realize Erik was a jerk. Oh, well. Linda Gerber's second SASS book, The Finnish Line, is SO much better--you should definitely check it out!

simply nerdy book reviews said...

Thanks, Bookworm! Ive read some of the others, but not Gerber's other one! And it really made me angry, how stupid and naive Nori's choices were at times.

Ana said...

I haven't read this series but have always been curious. Thanks for the review!!

simply nerdy book reviews said...

No prob!


Unknown said...

Have a great break I have another 3 weeks before I am able to get back to work am getting stir crazy living in the bedroom, however the back is getting better. nerves are mending which means I feel it more. Any way have a great break

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