Jonathan Lusk was a little boy with a good life, living in Boston with a nice house in 1948. However, his parents suddenly became involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and unfortunately this causes both of their deaths. With nowhere else to go, Jonathan was sent to live with his grandparents in Japan. Shortly after that, Jonathan's beloved grandfather was killed by yakuza, Japanese extremists, because he had a hand in convicting one of their leaders. Now Jonathan is completely alone, the only American in this strange new world. Jonathan's grandmother, niece of the Emperor, enrolls him in a special Japanese school called the Dai Kan, where he is quickly targeted as a target of bullying and ridicule because of his nationality. His main bully is the student assigned to be his sempai (mentor), Murakami. As Jonathan progresses through the school, becoming a better and better student, he makes friends with his cousins Yoritomo and Nanami. He eventually reaches the status of Kami, one of the highest honors that a student can receive, while Murakami is expelled for bad behavior. Right after this happens, Yoritomo and Nanami are kidnapped under the direction of Murakami, who had inherited a yakuza organization from his father. Jonathan will go to any lengths to find them, but will he be successful?
This book was okay. It wasn't excellent, and it wasn't terrible. It was a good story, but some portions of it seemed very disconnected from the parts that had just come before, and this made it confusing and more difficult to figure ot exactly what was going on. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict was brought up in the beginning, and I thought that it would be important to the rest of the story. It wasn't, just in the beginning as a reason for Jonathan's parents to die. The rest of the conflict throughout the book is the tension between the Japanese and the Americans. I think that the beginning could have been tied a bit more into what the rest of the book would be about. There were also a lot of different characters to keep track of, and this further confused me when I was reading it. There were a lot of Japanese characters with similar names and different roles in the story. They would appear and disappear for a few chapters then come back later. It was just difficult to keep track of without writing out a list.
Overall, this book was mildly entertaining. Some elements of the story were creative and good, but others seemed to come out of nowhere and have little to do with anything else. Because of this, I'm only going to give this book three stars. Not terrible, but could have been better.