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Monday, September 14, 2015

Review: The Toki-Girl and The Sparrow-Boy Book 2- Chasing Dreams by Claire Youmans


Chasing Dreams
(The Toki-Girl and The Sparrow-Boy #2)
by Claire Youmans
6/29/15
american i publishing

Going home isn't as simple as getting home! Chasing Dreams is the sequel to The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, recounting the continuing adventures of Azuki, the girl who turns into a Toki, and her brother, Shota, who can become a sparrow. Outcasts, Tengu, Dragons, Tanuki, and all the uncertainty and chaos of Meiji-era Japan provide help and obstacles as they find a way to chase their dreams.  
amazon / goodreads





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In the sequel to The Toki-Girl and The Sparrow-Boy, siblings Azuki and Shota find themselves on another wild adventure. Azuki and Shota want to go home, but their homeland is filled with war and unrest. To claim their human identities and inheritance, the two bird children must make a perilous journey to seek a meeting with the rightful lord of their village. A kind monk, Yuta, agrees to help the children  get to the capitol to see Lord Eitaro. But their journey is filled with dangerous creatures and obstacles. Will Aziku and Shota get home before it’s too late?

Like its predecessor, The Toki-Girl and The Sparrow-Boy Book 2: Chasing Dreams, is a lovely tale full of sparkling imagination, memorable characters, and wondrous fantasy elements. Author Claire Youmans, once again intertwines real history with enthralling fantasy and adventure to weave a captivating story. From the culture to the language, clothes, food, and the social and political changes of the era, the Meiji-era Japan setting is crafted with great care and authenticity. The fantastical elements throughout The Toki-Girl and The Sparrow-Boy Book 2: Chasing Dreams feel both timelessly classic and fresh. Young readers will be captivated and enchanted by this world full of bird-children, dragons, Tengu, and more!

One of the things I like best about this series, are the characters. From brave and endearing Azuki to charming and amusing Shota, kind and wise Yuta, clever Anko, fun Blackie and Red Wind, and all the wonderful, intriguing characters we meet in this book, The Toki-Girl and The Sparrow-Boy Book 2: Chasing Dreams is full of unforgettable and likable characters.

Azuki and Shota’s journey home is full of wild adventure, unexpected twists, fun surprises, and thoughtful lessons. Youmans concludes book two in a very heartwarming, satisfying way.

my final thoughts: Like book one, The Toki-Girl and The Sparrow-Boy Book 2: Chasing Dreams is an exciting and charming read.

MY RATING
4/5 yummy cupcakes

Claire Youmans is an accomplished adult non-fiction and mystery writer who has also written and edited innumerable articles, engaging audiences for over 20 years. With a deep love for Japan and its culture, Claire has traveled there extensively studying the country’s culture and folklore. She worked as a creative consultant on the award-winning international feature film Journey to Mt. Fuji, produced by Sasanquafilms. She continues to consult for Sasanquafilms, which expects to begin production on a new film in 2014. 

Claire has returned to the more complex world of novels, but now for a younger audience. While working on a play produced in Tokyo, The Great Grateful Jizo, Claire was so inspired by two minor characters -- Azuki, a Toki-Girl, and her brother, Shota, a Sparrow-Boy -- that she expanded their story into The Toki Girl and the Sparrow Boy. With generous doses of adventure, suspense, folklore and fantasy, Claire has brought their visually compelling story into book form. 



The Toki Girl and the Sparrow Boy is the first in a series of books recounting their adventures. With further books in development, Claire is returning to Japan for more inspiration and motivation to bring that nation’s beauty and culture to life for young readers through its traditional folklore. 


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