Book Reviews

The Last Birthday Party (2018 Advent Calendar - Warmest Wishes) by Mere Rain at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 05-December-2018

Book Blurb

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.


A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar "Warmest Wishes."

Book Review

Coming of age can be traumatic, it often brings questions and uncertainty, and it always means change. Akihito and Kenji have been friends and neighbors since they were born, but now that they are about to graduate college and will need to find “real” jobs and fulfill their parents’ wishes to get married, Akihito fears their friendship will not last. It is also the last year that his birthday is on the day Japan celebrates the emperor’s birthday – a national holiday – as next year there will be a new emperor and Akihito will not be able to spend the whole day with Kenji.

Akihito secretly wants so much more than friendship with Kenji, but he is too shy to say anything. He feels fear as well – what if Kenji never wants to talk to him once he finds out? Both their parents are conservative, so Akihito has very little hope for the future and tries his best to make as much as he can of his “last birthday party” with Kenji. They pass a day filled with memories as they travel the city and try to get drunk. One thing leads to another and the moment of truth arrives… and Kenji’s response is not at all what Akihito had expected.

If you like winter holiday stories featuring a different country and culture’s traditions, if you want to watch two young adults come to terms with the adulting they will soon have to do, and if you’re looking for a sweet, gentle love story in an exotic setting, then you will probably like this cute short story.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Short Story, 25 pages/7229 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-December-2018
Price $1.99 ebook
Buy Link