Cover Image: The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura

The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura

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Member Reviews

The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura is a retelling of the Japanese Folktale "The Melon Princess and the Amanjaku." I have not read/heard of this folktale, but I really enjoyed this middle grade story.

Our main character is Melony, a 12 year old girl with helicopter parents who immigrated from Japan to the US. They have warned her for years of a demonic spirit called Amanjaku that corrupted an old friend of theirs. However, when Amanjaku appears in her life and begins to give her all the things she thought she wanted, she cannot resist his allure.

This is a middle grade book and I find that MG books almost always center a moral lesson - even more than I find in children's books. The lesson in this book was hammered in VERY hard which made it feel a bit cheesy and summoned a few eye rolls on my part, but also I'm not the intended audience by any means!!

I went back and forth from the audiobook to the digital version and I really loved the audiobook. The narrator did a great job bringing the story to life and holding my attention. I read this book in a day and found myself really eager to go back to it each time I set it down.

I definitely recommend for a middle grade audience or anyone looking for a playful but eerie story.

*Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
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This was a spooky yet wholesome story that would be great for lower middle grade readers - it provides scary moments while also having a good moral lesson AND includes diverse representation of Japanese folklore. It's a quick read and one that I think middle school readers of all genres can enjoy!
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Thanks to the publishers at Quill Tree books for a chance to read “The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura”! 

A retelling of the Japanese folktale, “the Melon Princess and Amanajaku,” this book follows 12 year old Melony Yoshimura as she finds out to be careful what she wishes for… the hard way. In many ways, it isn’t fair to compare it to Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline” because it’s a deeply Japanese-American story, one where our protagonist deals with being in translation between her American daily life and Japanese home life in addition to the Amanajaku being a distinct entity from Japanese folklore that doesn’t translate to other folktale traditions. 

It’s a sweet tale that never overstays its welcome while also including body switching, demon magic, and more in a Japanese American household. “The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura” manages to strike the balance between creepiness and whimsy, make its very clear point that the grass is always greener while never talking down to its middle grade audience or feeling stale. It’s a book I wish I would have had when I was younger, and I’m so glad the middle grade horror nerds of today can add this book to a trove of great children’s horror novels.
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Well structured and lovable characters! I really appreciated the characterization and prose and the pacing was very well done.
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This was a great retelling of  "The Melon Princess and the Amanjaku" with a modern day twist. Melony is a young twelve year old girl that seems to always be comparing herself to those around her and focusing on the things that she's lacking due to her overprotective parents.  Soon she realizes that she should really be-careful of what she wishes for because not everything is what it seems.  Overall the writing was amazing with a great lesson to be learned.
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I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.    Thank you NetGalley.

The cover of this book is absolutely stunning.     And I absolutely love that this book involves Japanese folklore.
This book is technically labeled as a "middle grade" book, but I feel like it tackled such .. mature and important topics that that was easily overlooked for me.    

The MC Melony will be relatable for many.    The author did a fabulous job at capturing her struggles and experiences at her age.   Melony feels misunderstood by the people around her, especially her family.   
The author's world building was great & descriptive.    
The storyline was interesting and unique. 
The book moved a little slower than I would have liked for the first half, but the remainder of the book was perfectly paced & easily kept my interest.
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First off, thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book! In addition to its lovely cover, I picked it up because of its interesting premise and for incorporating the Japanese folklore “The Melon Princess and the Amanjaku”. And I must say, this book was such a pleasant one to read! Even though it is categorized as a middle-grade book, I loved how the book tackled deeper themes of culture and identity. Melony’s character, albeit sometimes annoying, is really relatable; and while oftentimes I feel like it’s difficult to write about characters who are much younger than your actual age — who don’t have as many experiences or perspectives of the world yet — the author did an incredible job in capturing what a child as old as Melony may think and feel about her status at school and relationship with her family. She finds herself out of place at school due to her background, and at the same time she also finds her relationship with her parents strained after she feels that they cannot understand her and vice versa. 

The Amanjaku, who initially appeared to be an ally, turned out to not be an ally after all. The gradual buildup made for an exciting, and even rather creepy and horror-like story, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My only contention is that the pacing of the story at the beginning was on the slower side. As a book that’s 180-ish pages, spending more than a third of it on establishing the context made it a bit hard to get into at first, but I loved the rest of the book. It was such a whirlwind of an adventure and I found it hard to put down until the end.

Overall, a really great book that I would recommend to readers of any age! It’s funny, creepy, relatable, and heartwarming; all while giving readers the exposure to Japanese culture in a way that is palatable and relatable.
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Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced reader copy.

This book was very moving and well-written and I loved the candid aspect of the overall story. I absolutely love Japanese folktale and mythology so I had a great time going on a journey with Melody. The story is whimsical, funny, and witty and I just adored all the elements that made it a great fairytale to enjoy during my free time.
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This is my first contact with this author's work and I've become a fan. I grew up immersed in Japanese culture, sports (Kendo), and pop-culture, and anime, and I have a passion for their folklore and legends, but I'm not Japanese. I just always felt drawn to it. I can never refuse a good novel focused on these elements. 

This is a very well-written story as a modern retelling (or inspired) by an old Japanese folktale “The Melon Princess and the Amanjaku" about an oni (demon) who grants wishes in a wicked way, leading people astray but also can be a shapeshifter taking their place.

Told in the first person, we follow Melony who is a first-generation American-Japanese 12-year-old child who is struggling to belong, caught between two different cultures. She is ashamed of her parents' heritage and overprotective rules. She even refuses to use her real name (Uriko) because she wants to fit in the "American" standards and be accepted by her peers instead of being bullied and made fun of. Although many kids (Japanese or not) who are bullies or made fun of their names (me included) will relate to her tribulations. This brought me close to Melony.
On top of this, her parents are overprotective and have too many rules constantly comparing American life/routines/what is acceptable or not to Japanese life. Melony's anger, frustration, and feeling suffocated by her parents leads her to make a birthday wish inviting an evil spirit without realizing it. 

In school, there is a new girl and this gives Melony an opportunity for new friendships, with relatable interests and their background culture. Chloë is also from a Japanese family but being another generation this family is more integrated and Americanized. 

The book has the perfect progression from self-centered Melony to the community. We start with her reactions to injustices until she hits the bottom. Bad things happen like lying, hiding, and stealing to achieve goals... Then the story becomes more and we even get insight into other characters' lives (situations) and understand better their action. 

I like the end, I wasn't expecting the small twist that suddenly makes everything worse and tense and we're rooting for Melony in this "one last chance race" against time to make it all right again, not just for her but for the entire community. 

Close to my heart because...There is something the author points out in her notes that is very important. We are not always the victim (the princess of the folktale) influenced by the "evil spirit" who makes us do our worst, we are also that "one" who shapeshifts to fit, to please, and be accepted. I relate to Melony a lot when I change myself to belong to my new culture, but I also relate a lot to her parents constantly making comparisons In my country we didn't (...) in my country we used to..." When in Rome be Romans right? And sometimes that tires and overwhelmed.
I think the author showed that very well with Melony's actions and redemption.

Themes such as Asian family culture in conflict with American culture, helicopter parents, anger, frustration, sense of being wronged, outgrowing selfishness, recognizing good from bad, regret, learning to see that we're part of different community cores (such as family, friendship, school, neighborhood...), facing fears, accepting responsibility, making new friends with relatable interests, respecting friendships, giving others a chance, being honest with others, express feelings but learning to be reasonable by communicating well.

Thank you for the opportunity to read this ARC NetGalley and Publisher. My opinions are my own and are honest.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley and HarperCollins Children's Books, Quill Tree Books. All opinions are my own, and I'm voluntarily leaving this review.

Genre: Middle Grade Magical Realism, Contemporary Fiction, Fairy Tale Retelling, Japanese Mythology, Dark Fantasy
Scare Factor: Low—it's perfect for kids 8-12

I adore reading middle grade books to see what they're up to. In THE VERY UNFORTUNATE WISH OF MELONY YOSHIMURA, I was blown away with how much this short novel did with a deft hand.

The author delves into a Japanese myth that she always loved (or maybe was haunted by) and brings it to life with modern twists. It covers themes like beware of strangers, but also greater depth with the importance of family, friendship, honesty, and being who you are. It's so beautiful! And these themes are pretty subtle so kids won't get put off by them.

Melony is a typical American 12 year-old: she wants independence while still needing her parents, she desperately wants to fit in. This is so relatable! But her parents are immigrants from Japan and have a different cultural climate in their home and what they expect out of Melony. You can just feel the friction and tension from this situation.

When the Amanjaku, a Japanese demon, arrives, I felt so worried for Melony and her family! Having the reader recognize the danger is great for middle graders. And the Amanjaku is charming, even fun and funny—at first. Oh the trouble it brings!

I will not spoil it, but I will tell you I was thrilled to see how this novel played out. Especially how Melony worked so hard to try and solve her problems—and they weren't easy ones.

I highly recommend this book! It's wonderful!

Happy reading!
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Twisted, exciting, dark story to lose yourself in this year. 
Thank you Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion
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I absolutely adored Waka T. Brown's novel. I fell in love with the characters and the story line. I'm usually a quick reader, but I took my time with "The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura" simply because I wanted to absorb all of it. 

There was so much that was happening and going on, from the complexities of the adults around her, to her fellow classmates and herself. What a marvelous book.
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Wonderful! Brisk, vivid, funny, and truly scary without being gory. I loved all of the characters and the entire premise.
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What a powerful story incorporating a Japanese folktale. It leaves much food for thought— how our actions affect others, cherish others’ care, be careful what you wish for.
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Thank you for providing me the opportunity to review “The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura” prior to publication.I did enjoy the book, however, feltthe reading style often was difficult to collow. I am appreciative and leave my sincerity review voluntarily.
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I loved this suspenseful, well-written, well-paced MG book that recasts a Japanese folktale about the princess who inadvertently sets loose a crafty demon. Melony is a believable MG girl who chafes against the restraints her immigrant parents place on her and wishes for more fun and adventure in her life. At first, the Amanjaku who appears in answer to that wish seems like the best birthday gift ever--but as time goes on, and the Amanjaku starts to reveal more of its real nature, Melony starts to understand what she has unleashed not only on herself but on everyone around her. A totally absorbing story.
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I am admittedly not the biggest reader of middle grade books, but the over and the description sparked my interest. After reading a few really amazing middle grade books for middle grade march, I thought I'd give this one a try. We have a young girl named Uriko/Melony who is first generation American and is finding herself torn between her desires to be more American and her parent's conservative Japanese views. After a birthday wish for things to change, Amanjaku, a mischievous Japanese mythical character arrives. All is fun and games initially, but soon there are serious consequences because of his presence and Melony must make some tough choices. 

The thing that I think this book does best is illustrate what it is like to be a first generation child and be torn between the culture you were born into and the one that your parents grew up with. Melony's desire for more freedom and to be more like her American classmates really resonated with me. I grew up in a community of mostly immigrant families and I saw this exact scenario play out quite often. Her desire for independence and trust really butts up against her parents' expectation that she be obedient and passive. 

The Amanjaku was an interesting character, but I did find myself wishing the book had delved into his myth a bit more. He sort of arrives suddenly and Melony accepts him without much question. I know she's feeling rebellious and he feeds into that, but she's also a clever and thoughtful girl, so I'm surprised she didn't question things a bit more. I also was a bit confused by some of the things that happened toward the end. Perhaps, as an adult I see some holes that a younger reader might not pick up on as much?

I did really enjoy the exploration of Japanese culture and mythology. I loved the inclusion of social norms, expectations, foods, sayings, etc. It really helped me to understand who this family was and where the parents were coming from in restricting Melony. 

All in all, if you are a big fan of middle grade books or have a middle grade reader who enjoys myths, I think this would be a fun read. I think it might be particularly poignant for children who are the kids of immigrants as they may relate to some of Melony's struggles.

*Thank you to Netgalley, Waka T Brown, and Quill Tree Books for this E-ARC. This in no way affects the objectivity of my review.
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This is an interesting take on a Japanese folktale for middle grade readers. I don't feel strongly about the story one way or the other. While it's interesting to get a take on some Japanese mythology, the pacing was pretty slow for most of the book and the ending was kind of ambiguous and dissatisfying.

It would have been nice if the two last names that were used a lot were not Yoshimura and Yoshida. It could get confusing because they're so similar.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy.
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This middle grade retelling is astonishing! I couldn't put it down and read it in a little more than a day. I laughed out loud, I screamed in horror, I gasped in shock. The story had a little bit of everything to bring you on an emotional roller coaster to the end. One of the things I like most about Waka Brown's writing is how real she keeps things with respect money, class, friendship, and school in a way that is respectful of young readers and meets them where they are. That is done so well here as the book looks at how we measure our lives in comparison to others, what do we do with the freedom we take, what we owe the people in our lives, and whether our choices reflect our true and best selves or how we're willing to be influenced by others. It is just amazing! Highly recommend! Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read early.
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I enjoyed this book very much. I don't read a lot of middle grade or YA books, but some I am just drawn to. This reminded me of Coraline by Gaiman, a bit..The main character I fell in love with. Such a great book.
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