Review: The Favorites by Mary Yukari Waters

The Favorites is an interesting novel. Let’s put it this way – there isn’t exactly a plot and I’m not sure it fits into any genre. In a way, it’s more of an educational book than a fun read.

This book is split up into 4 parts, with the first part taking up about two-fifths of the entire book, which sort of makes sense because it leaves room for another 3 parts. I found that the first part the most interesting of all the parts – I had to push myself to finish the rest of the book.

Problem one: the book progressed far too slowly. Sure it’s always interesting to read about life in Japan, but I felt that it was far too ‘educational’. Sometimes Waters would use simple Japanese Romaji that repeated the English version of the word. For people that know Japanese (such as myself) it’s okay, but what about all the other people? Are we supposed to look it up on Google ourselves?

Problem two: this book is far too peaceful. By peaceful I don’t mean something the opposite of violent, bloody themes. I mean the book gives off a tranquil feeling when you read it – you can’t really feel your emotions change and flow with the book. Sometimes it feels like the text is just there.

The main character Sarah isn’t too likable a character. She gives off a ‘big sister’ feel when she plays with her younger cousins but aside from that, I couldn’t really pick up any personality traits. Funnily enough, her mother is a rather central character with most of the issues relating back to her in a way. That’s odd because it talks about Sarah’s life in the synopsis and not her mothers…

“Three generations of women. One secret that binds them all…”
^ Interesting quote from the new cover version. The one secret makes it sound more interesting but I hate to spoil – it’s not. It really is just a complicated family matter secret that the public doesn’t know about. I even drew up a family tree of most if not all the characters in the family, believe me, it’s not pretty.

What I did like though, was the insight of Japan it gave me. I quite like Japan and I’ve never been there before, but in a way, I got a glimpse of it through this book.

Overall I didn’t particularly enjoy reading this novel. It was too slowly paced and it didn’t capture my interest. For those who do want to learn about Japanese culture and pick up a few Japanese Romaji words along the way, it’s for you ^^ I give this 2 and a half stars.

Didn’t like it much, but it wasn’t too bad.

Other book reviews I recently read:

Legend by Marie Lu
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (Charline Blog)
DREAMING ANASTASIA review by Ghost Ship Films
Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes (my favorite)