I Love You So Mochi

by Sarah Kuhn

Scholastic Press
June 2019

Ages 12 – 18 . Grades 7 – 12

"As sweet and satisfying as actual mochi... a tender love story wrapped up in food, fashion, and family. I gobbled it up." -- Maurene Goo, author of The Way You Make Me Feel

Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement.

She's obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother disapproves, and when they get into an explosive fight, Kimi's entire future seems on the verge of falling apart. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi's estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.

When she arrives in Japan, she's met with a culture both familiar and completely foreign to her. She loses herself in the city's outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival -- and meets Akira, a cute aspiring med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. And what begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.

In I Love You So Mochi, author Sarah Kuhn has penned a delightfully sweet and irrepressibly funny novel that will make you squee at the cute, cringe at the awkward, and show that sometimes you have to lose yourself in something you love to find your Ultimate self.
Sarah Kuhn

Sarah Kuhn is on a quest to eat every kind of mochi in the greater Los Angeles area. She is the author of the Heroine Complex series and has penned a variety of comics and short fiction about geeks, aliens, romance, and Barbie (yes, that Barbie). Additionally, Sarah is a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. In her spare time, she thinks way too much about one day adopting a pug and the lasting legacy of Claudia Kishi. A third-generation Japanese American, she lives in LA with her husband and an overflowing closet of vintage treasures. You can find Sarah online at


--- - I'm supposed to be embarking on a quest of self-discovery, but I keep getting lost. I don't mean that in the super introspective, "let's talk about my feelings" kind of way. I mean I literally don't know where I am.

It's my first day as a spring break tourist in Japan (on a Super Important Quest of Self-Discovery) and I've taken the train from my grandparents' tiny town to Kyoto, hoping to walk something called Philosopher's Path. That sounded peaceful and contemplative and like just the thing to do when you need to figure out your life. Instead, I ended up wandering in the wrong direction because I saw a girl wearing a tiered skirt made out of two different kinds of material -- wispy tulle contrasting with heavy wool -- and she looked so incredibly cool, I just had to know where she was going. Then I got caught up studying the cherry blossoms overhead, a glorious canopy of pink and white fluff that seemed to go on forever. Now my distracted wanderings have led me to an outdoor market with food stands frying, steaming, and boiling everything from delectably salty squid to buttery sweet taiyaki.

I take a deep breath and try to refocus on my quest of self-discovery. I came to Japan hoping to find answers to big, important questions. Like:

Who am I?

What am I supposed to do with my life?

What do I really want out of my future?

I thought arriving here would spark major revelations, but instead I'm sitting on some random bench, staring at a blank page. I press my pencil to paper, willing the revelations to come.

They don't.

Crap. Did I really just travel halfway around the world on a whim to a place I know nothing about?

I may have just ruined everything.