Wednesday, December 5, 2018

ARC Review: The Last Birthday Party by Mere Rain

The Last Birthday Party
A Story from the Warmest Wishes: Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar
Their favorite holiday is going away. Will it take their friendship with it?

Since 1989, the birthday of the Emperor of Japan has been celebrated on December 23rd. But this is the last year; the Emperor is abdicating, and next year there will be no holiday.

For twenty-year-old Akihito, the holiday has always been special. It’s his birthday, too, and a perfect excuse for spending the entire day celebrating across Tokyo with his life-long best friend, Kenji. But now that they will no longer get the day off and will soon face adult responsibilities, will they drift apart? Or if Akihito confesses the secret love he’s held in his heart for years, will their closeness be ruined? One thing is certain: nothing will be same by the end of the day.

Jewel's rating:

The Last Birthday Party is a sweet and cute best friends to lovers story. The story spans one day when two life-long best friends celebrate the last birthday that will fall on a national holiday.

Akihito and Kenji have been best friends for their entire lives and ever since they could remember, they have celebrated the Emperor's birthday, that Akihito shares, together with much revelry. At 20 years old, both young men are on the cusp of adulthood and everything is bound to change.

Not only will both Kenji and Akihito be headed to university, but the Emperor is abdicating, so no longer will Akihito's birthday be a national holiday. Akihito is scared of all the changes that will happen; afraid that he and Kenji will grow apart with impending adulthood and everything that entails.

I felt like I got a good sense of both Kenji and Akihito and their friendship, even without knowing much of their history beyond their life-long friendship. Kenji is a caretaker, making sure that Akihito has what he needs and Akihito is the one that takes life less seriously. As the day progresses and Kenji and Akihito face their feelings for one another, the bittersweet feelings of longing turn sweeter and sweeter, with an ending that could only make me smile.


ARC of The Last Birthday Party was generously provided, by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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Happy Holidays!

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