Review: In Memory Of Us by Ana Phoenix

Kite's had a crush on Shin since middle school, but never acted on it until the eve of his yearly trip to the States, when he slipped up and kissed his best friend. Shortly after, a tsunami wrecked the country and his hometown, and put all his plans on hold. Now, two years later, he's back in Japan and he wants to set things right.

When he finds Shin, though, his former best friend isn't who he used to be. Losing his parents changed Shin and now, instead of following his heart, he's dedicated his life to studying for university entrance exams and ignoring everything else. He won't let Kite get close, denying his obvious attraction and all their good memories.

Kite doesn’t want to give up on Shin, but he can’t shake the feeling that there’s something his friend isn’t telling him. Something else that happened two years ago on the day of the tsunami. He doesn’t know what it is, just that it’s destroying his friend—and possibly their shot at love.

Friends to lovers is my all time favourite theme in story and I get stupidly excited when I have the chance to read this kind of book. This one didn't disappoint. I got the gooey, yummy feeling I get when friends become more, reading this.

Kite has had two years to think about the kiss he gave his best friend last time he saw him - two years of regret? Longing? Wanting more? A lot can happen in two years though - including a tsunami that washes away the village you once called home along with many of the residents, neighbours, friends, family.

I loved seeing the world through the eyes of Kite, still the independent, sometimes controversial character he's always been, and Shin, his former best friend whose life changed dramatically after the tsunami. The relationship between these two, the push and pull, the wanting but not was wonderful to witness.

Sometimes I admit, I wanted to give Shin a wake-up call, everything he wanted was frankly there for the taking but the ghosts of his family are hard to lay to rest. Kite I loved with all my heart though. He was himself and he wasn't going to change that for anyone. I loved his sense of self, his independence and the way he knew what he wanted. He was a great character.

What we got in this book, along with two great characters, was a wonderful setting. I loved the Japan we saw here. From the rush rush of modern Tokyo to the quiet village rebuilding itself after such a horrible natural disaster. The tsunami was a metaphor really for the way Kite and Shin's friendship had gone. The slow rebuilding after a major event. I appreciated this, the physical and emotional matching. Sometimes the first steps to rebuild something are the hardest. Sometimes just knowing whether to rebuild or not takes all sorts of courage.

A really lovely romance, recommended for fans of friends to lovers, Japan or romance. I will definitely be looking out for more by this author.

A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
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