Reviews of bucket-list-worthy things to do all over the world

Lost in Tokyo
A romantic YA contemporary novel by J.W. Lynne

Nineteen-year-old Erin is hoping that her visit to Japan with her best friend, Adam, will be life-changing. Fifteen years ago, Erin's mother mysteriously vanished. The only clue to her mother's possible whereabouts is a handwritten itinerary for a dream trip to Japan, a trip that Erin doesn't know if her mother ever had the chance to take. Erin has decided to carry out this Japan bucket list, believing that it might help her find her mother.

But her trip won't be going according to plan.

Just hours after Erin and Adam arrive in Tokyo, in a jet-lagged fog, they end up in bed together. While struggling with the tension that now dominates their once innocent friendship, Erin and Adam visit the places on her mother's bucket list. As they explore the wonders of Japan, Erin finds herself haunted by strange "memories" that seem to belong to her mother. Could these memories be real? If so, perhaps her mother can be found.

LOST IN TOKYO will appeal to readers of IF I STAY and JUST ONE DAY (by Gayle Forman), 180 SECONDS (by Jessica Park), ALLIE AND BEA (by Catherine Ryan Hyde), THIRTEEN REASONS WHY (by Jay Asher), and REASON TO BREATHE (by Rebecca Donovan). The book gives us a travel guide of wonderful things to see and do while on vacation in Japan (featuring attractions in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Nikko, and Kamakura) wrapped in a coming-of-age story of healing and hope, with an unexpected, but satisfying, ending.

Praise for LOST IN TOKYO:

"Traveling throughout Japan is a dream of mine and this book created a sense of familiarity with places I've only witnessed through (manymanymany) videos." -- Em, Goodreads

"Full of heartbreak, loss and finding yourself while falling in love with your best friend. I would absolutely recommend this book and I have to several people already." -- Amy, Goodreads

"Beautifully written ... emotional adventure. Quite a few scenes brought out the goosebumps." -- Denise, Goodreads

"Japan as a backdrop was such a unique story setting. It was both peaceful and exciting at the same time." -- Amanda, Goodreads

"I love Erin, I love everything about her. Her passion to follow her heart and figure things out is amazing." -- Debbie, Goodreads

"I was completely enthralled with the vivid descriptions of Japan. After reading this book, I would love to plan a visit!" -- Sara, Goodreads

"There were so many surprises I was on the edge of my seat." -- Kathryn, Goodreads

"I absolutely loved this book! I couldn't put it down. The relationship between Erin and Adam was amazingly sensual and slow building. It kept the pages turning like crazy. And the way the plot kept unfolding, I never knew what was going to happen next. Lynne's use of imagery was fantastic, the characters were always the main focus, you felt like you were right there with them." -- Amanda, Goodreads

"I did one of those 'start from the beginning' when I finished it - I wasn't ready to leave the world that Lynne had created!" -- Janet, Goodreads

If you love inspiring young adult or new adult romantic contemporary novels, don't miss this powerful read!

LOST IN TOKYO is available in Kindle ebook and in paperback. Read it FREE with Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited.

 Author J.W. Lynne on the trip to Japan that inspired Lost in Tokyo:

An excerpt from Lost in Tokyo


The air inside our hotel room smells like bleach and honeysuckles; it’s not unpleasant, but it’s different. I make my way down an entry hallway so narrow that I have to carefully guide my suitcase so it doesn’t smash against the scarred walls.

The bedroom is about half the size of my dorm room. It’s barely big enough to accommodate the two twin beds that take up almost all of its floor space. The beds are separated by a remarkably-skinny nightstand that’s dwarfed by the normal-sized alarm clock that covers its entire surface. It is 01:08 AM.

I heave my suitcase onto the first bed. My backpack follows. I can’t imagine spending the next five nights cramped in this tiny room alone, much less with another person.

Adam drops his suitcase and backpack onto the second bed and collapses on top of them. Until now, I hadn’t really considered how strange it will be to share a bedroom with Adam. Although we are best friends, we’ve never been roommates before. I wonder if it will be awkward.

“Do you want to take the first shower?” Adam asks me.

“Sure. Thanks,” I say.

And then I notice neatly-folded, white, silk pajamas on my bed. There’s some on Adam’s bed too. I don’t know why they excite me so much, but they do.

“Japanese pajamas!” I squeal, lifting what turns out to be a long nightshirt. “We should wear these!”

“I think I’ll wear shorts and a t-shirt,” Adam says.

“Suit yourself.” I unzip my suitcase, grab my toiletries, and head into the bathroom.

As I brush my teeth, I examine the toilet. It looks like any ordinary toilet back home, except that, on one side, it has an armrest-like thing with numerous buttons which are labeled in Japanese. There are symbols on the buttons also, but I’m not quite sure what they mean.

After I rinse the toothpaste from my mouth, I sit on the toilet. “Whoa!” The seat is warm! It’s comforting in a weird way to sit on a warm toilet seat—unless it’s still warm from the person before you, which I’m sure is not the case here. I push the first button: a big orange circle with a square inside. Nothing happens. And then my foggy mind realizes it’s the stop button. Good. If I push a button with an outcome I don’t like, I can put an end to it quickly. I push the next button: a blue person sitting on a blue stool. “Aaah!” Warm water tickles my bottom. Strange. I push the button with the square. The water flow instantly stops. The next button is a red person on a red stool. The red stool is angled slightly differently than the blue stool. “Eeee.” I feel a little like I’m peeing in reverse. “Adam, you’ve gotta try this toilet,” I call out. I’m sure it feels different from a guy’s perspective, but it’s probably still an interesting experience.

“Based on what I’m hearing, I look forward to it,” he calls back.

I laugh, pee, wipe, and flush.

“Do you need to use the restroom before I get in the shower?” I call to Adam.

“No, I’m fine.”

I poke my head out of the bathroom. “Are you sure?”

Adam smiles sleepily at me. “Yeah, I’m sure. Thanks.”

I close the door and strip off my clothes.

Mercifully, the shower is less complicated than the toilet. I get it going and step inside.

As the warm water washes over me, it takes with it the stress of the past twenty-four hours, but it can’t budge the anxiety over what is to come.


* * *

I open my eyes, feeling completely disoriented. It takes me a moment to realize that I’m not in my dorm room bed, but rather in bed in a hotel room in Japan. I think I slept some, but not much.

The clock on the nightstand reads “02:35.”

Adam is sliding under his bedcovers. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you,” he whispers. “Go back to sleep.”

For some reason that I don’t completely understand, I climb out of my bed, lift the covers on Adam’s bed, and slip under them with him.

I’ve only been in bed with Adam once before, on the night my dad died. I needed someone next to me that night. We didn’t cuddle. We didn’t even touch each other. We slept in his bed with a pillow between us. But it was comforting in exactly the way I needed to be comforted. Now, I don’t need to be next to Adam, I want to be.

“Is something wrong?” Adam asks me.

“No, nothing’s wrong.” I say, and then I notice, “Hey, you’re wearing the Japanese pajamas.”

“You seemed so excited about them. I didn’t want to let you down.”

The way he says that makes it clear he’s joking, but his words resonate with me. I’ve been let down many times in my life. By many people. People who I loved. People who I trusted. But Adam has never, ever let me down.

I stare into Adam’s eyes, feeling something stir inside me. Something I didn’t think I’d ever feel again. A longing. I think I see it in his eyes too. Adam’s gaze drops to my mouth for a split second, almost imperceptibly, as if he’s asking permission. With my eyes, I consent.

Our lips meet, at first uncertain, then more confident. Our bodies touch and then press against each other. Just two thin silky layers separate us, but those two layers feel like too much. I slide a hand between us and unbutton Adam’s nightshirt. Adam unbuttons mine, and my nightshirt falls away from my chest. He traces my side with one finger. I run my hand over his muscled chest, heading down to his waist.

I shouldn’t be touching him this way. “Adam, what are we doing?”

Of course I know what we’re doing, but I’m not sure why we’re doing it.

“You started it,” he says, pulling my nightshirt closed to cover my chest.

But I lean forward and kiss him again. Adam pulls me to him, full of desire. Our bodies move against each other, until I want to erase every millimeter of the distance between us.

“Do you have protection?” I whisper.

“Why would I bring protection? I didn’t think …”

I didn’t think we would be doing this either.

“Wait.” Adam jumps up and goes to his backpack. He opens a side pocket and pulls out a small box. “I forgot about these.”

“Are those from your last weekend with Natsumi?”

Adam places the box on top of the alarm clock. “Yeah.”

I remember that weekend. Adam took the train to Connecticut on Friday evening. He came back that same night. Natsumi had broken up with him as soon as he got there. She’d met someone new, but she wanted to tell Adam in person rather than over the phone.

Adam sits on the edge of his bed, staring at my rumpled bedsheets, and inhales deeply. “Erin, we shouldn’t do this.”

He’s right. “You’re right.”

As I start to sit up, Adam covers my hand with his. “You can stay here with me if you want.”

I look into his eyes. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

He swallows. “No.”

* * *

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