Seven Days of You


By Cecilia Vinesse

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Anna and the French Kiss meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this dazzling and swoon worthy YA romance set in Tokyo.

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the US with her family. Seven days to say goodbye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she has harbored a crush on for the past four years. Seven perfect days…that is, until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving-thunder with his stupid arriving-thunder. Yet as the week counts down, Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie. But can their seven short days left in Tokyo end in anything but goodbye?

A funny and poignant debut novel filled with first kisses and second chances.


AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SUMMER, I tried to get on top of the whole moving-continents thing by reminding myself I still had time. Days and hours and seconds all piled on top of one another, stretching out in front of me as expansive as a galaxy. And the stuff I couldn't deal with—packing my room and saying good-bye to my friends and leaving Tokyo—all that hovered at some indistinct point in the indistinct future.

So I ignored it. Every morning, I'd meet Mika and David in Shibuya, and we'd spend our days eating in ramen shops or browsing tiny boutiques that smelled like incense. Or, when it rained, we'd run down umbrella-crowded streets and watch anime I couldn't understand on Mika's couch. Some nights, we'd dance in strobe-lit clubs and go to karaoke at four in the morning. Then, the next day, we'd sit at train-station donut shops for hours, drinking milky coffee and watching the sea of commuters come and go and come and go again.

Once, I stayed home and tried dragging boxes up the stairs, but it stressed me out so much, I had to leave. I walked around Yoyogi-Uehara until the sight of the same cramped streets made me dizzy. Until I had to stop and fold myself into an alcove between buildings, trying to memorize the kanji on street signs. Trying to count my breaths.

And then it was August fourteenth. And I only had one week left, and it was hot, and I wasn't even close to being packed. But the thing was, I should have known how to do this. I'd spent my whole life ping-ponging across the globe, moving to new cities, leaving people and places drifting in my wake.

Still, I couldn't shake the feeling that this good-bye—to Tokyo, to the first friends I'd ever had, to the only life that felt like it even remotely belonged to me—was the kind that would swallow me whole. That would collapse around me like a star imploding.

And the only thing I knew how to do was to hold on as tightly as possible and count every single second until I reached the last one. The one I dreaded most.

Sudden, violent, final.

The end.



I WAS LYING ON THE LIVING-ROOM floor reading Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries when our air-conditioning made a sputtering sound and died. Swampy heat spread through the room as I held my hand over the box by the window. Nothing. Not even a gasp of cold air. I pressed a couple of buttons and hoped for the best. Still nothing.

"Mom," I said. She was sitting in the doorway to the kitchen, wrapping metal pots in sheets of newspaper. "Not to freak you out or anything, but the air-conditioning just broke."

She dropped some newspaper shreds on the ground, and our cat—Dorothea Brooke—came over to sniff them. "It's been doing that. Just press the big orange button and hold it."

"I did. But I think it's serious this time. I think I felt its spirit passing."

Mom unhooked a panel from the back of the air-conditioning unit and poked around. "Damn. The landlord said this system might go soon. It's so old, they'll have to replace it for the next tenant."

August was always hot in Tokyo, but this summer was approaching unbearable. A grand total of five minutes without air-conditioning and all my bodily fluids were evaporating from my skin. Mom and I opened some windows, plugged in a bunch of fans, and stood in front of the open refrigerator.

"We should call a repairman," I said, "or it's possible we'll die here."

Mom shook her head, going into full-on Professor Wachowski mode. Even though we're both short, she looks a lot more intimidating than I do, with her square jaw and serious eyes. She looks like the type of person who won't lose an argument, who can't take a joke.

I look like my dad.

"No," Mom said. "I'm not dealing with this the week before we leave. The movers are coming on Friday." She turned and leaned into the fridge door. "Why don't you go out? See your friends. Come back tonight when it's cooled down."

I twisted my watch around my wrist. "Nah, that's okay."

"You don't want to?" she asked. "Did something happen with Mika and David?"

"Of course not," I said. "I just don't feel like going out. I feel like staying home, and helping, and being the good daughter."

God, I sounded suspicious, even to myself.

But Mom didn't notice. She held out a few one-hundred-yen coins. "In that case, go to the konbini and buy some of those towels you put in the freezer and wrap around your neck."

I contemplated the money in her hand, but the heat made it swim across my vision. Going outside meant walking into the boiling air. It meant walking down the little streets I knew so well, past humming vending machines and stray cats stretched out in apartment-building entrances. Every time I did that, I was reminded of all the little things I loved about this city and how they were about to slip away forever. And today, of all days, I really didn't need that reminder.

"Or," I said, trying to sound upbeat, "I could pack."

Packing was, of course, a terrible idea.

Even the thought of it was oppressive. Like if I stood in my room too long, the walls would start tightening around me, trash-compacting me in. I stood in the doorway and focused on how familiar it all was. Our house was small and semi-dilapidated, and my room was predictably small to match, with only a twin bed, a desk pushed against the window, and a few red bookshelves running along the walls. But the problem wasn't the size—it was the stuff. The physics books I'd bought and the ones Dad had sent me cluttering up the shelves, patterned headbands and tangled necklaces hanging from tacks in the wall, towers of unfolded laundry built precariously all over the floor. Even the ceiling was crowded, crisscrossed with string after string of star-shaped twinkly lights.

There was a WET PAIN! sign (it was supposed to say WET PAINT!) propped against my closet that Mika had stolen from outside her apartment building, a Rutgers University flag pinned above my bed, Totoro stuffed toys on my pillow, and boxes and boxes of platinum-blond hair dye everywhere. (Those, I needed to get rid of. I'd stopped dyeing my hair blond since the last touch-up had turned it an attractive shade of Fanta orange.) It was so much—too much—to have to deal with. And I might have stayed there for hours, paralyzed in the doorway, if Alison hadn't come up behind me.

"Packed already?"

I spun around. My older sister had on the same clothes she'd been wearing all weekend—black T-shirt, black leggings—and she was holding an empty coffee mug.

I crossed my arms and tried to block her view of the room. "It's getting there."


"And what have you been doing?" I asked. "Sulking? Scowling? Both at the same time?"

She narrowed her eyes but didn't say anything. Alison was in Tokyo for the summer after her first year at Sarah Lawrence. She'd spent the past three months staying up all night and drinking coffee and barely leaving her bedroom during sunlight hours. The unspoken reason for this was that she'd broken up with her girlfriend at the end of last year. Something no one was allowed to mention.

"You have so much crap," Alison said, stepping over a pile of thrift-store dresses and sitting on my unmade bed. She balanced the coffee mug between her knees. "I think you might be a hoarder."

"I'm not a hoarder," I said. "This is not hoarding."

She arched an eyebrow. "Lest you forget, little sister, I've been by your side for many a move. I've witnessed the hoarder's struggle."

It was true. My sister had been by my side for most of our moves, avoiding her packing just as much as I'd been avoiding mine. This year, though, she only had the one suitcase she'd brought with her from the States—no doubt full of sad, sad poetry books and sad, sad scarves.

"You're one to talk," I said. "You threw approximately nine thousand tantrums when you were packing last summer."

"I was going to college." Alison shrugged. "I knew it would suck."

"And look at you now," I said. "You're a walking endorsement for the college experience."

The corners of her lips moved like she was deciding whether to laugh or not. But she decided not to. (Of course she decided not to.)

I climbed onto my desk, pushing aside an oversize paperback called Unlocking the MIT Application! and a stuffed koala with a small Australian flag clasped between its paws. Through the window behind me, I could see directly into someone else's living room. Our house wasn't just small—it was surrounded on three sides by apartment buildings. Like a way less interesting version of Rear Window.

Alison reached over and grabbed the pile of photos and postcards sitting on my nightstand. "Hey!" I said. "Enough with the stuff-touching."

But she was already flipping through them, examining each picture one at a time. "Christ," she said. "I can't believe you kept these."

"Of course I kept them," I said, grabbing my watch. "Dad sent them to me. He sent the same ones to you, in case that important fact slipped your mind."

She held up a photo of the Eiffel Tower, Dad standing in front of it and looking pretty touristy for someone who actually lived in Paris. "A letter a year does not a father make."

"You're so unfair," I said. "He sends tons of e-mails. Like, twice a week."

"Oh my God!" She waved another photo at me, this one of a woman sitting on a wood-framed couch holding twin babies on her lap. "The Wife and Kids? Really? Please don't tell me you still daydream about going to live with them."

"Aren't you late for sitting in your room all day?" I asked.

"Seriously," she said. "You're one creepy step away from Photoshopping yourself in here."

I kept the face of my watch covered with my hand, hoping she wouldn't start on that as well.

She didn't. She moved on to another picture: me and Alison in green and yellow raincoats, standing on a balcony messy with cracked clay flowerpots. In the picture, I am clutching a kokeshi—a wooden Japanese doll—and Alison is pointing at the camera. My dad stands next to her, pulling a goofy face.

"God," she muttered. "That shitty old apartment."

"It wasn't shitty. It was—palatial." Maybe. We'd moved from that apartment when I was five, after my parents split, so honestly, I barely remembered it. Although I did still like the idea of it. Of one country and one place and one family living there. Of home.

Alison threw the pictures back on the nightstand and stood up, all her dark hair spilling over her shoulders.

"Whatever," she said. "I don't have the energy to argue with you right now. You have fun with all your"—she gestured around the room—"stuff."

And then she was gone, and I was hurling a pen at my bed, angry because this just confirmed everything she thought. She was the Adult; I was still the Little Kid.

Dorothea Brooke padded into the room and curled up on a pile of clean laundry in a big gray heap.

"Fine," I said. "Ignore me. Pretend I'm not even here."

Her ears didn't so much as twitch.

I reached up to yank open the window, letting the sounds of Tokyo waft in: a train squealing into Yoyogi-Uehara Station, children shouting as they ran through alleyways, cicadas croaking a tired song like something from a rusted music box.

Since our house was surrounded by apartment buildings, I had to crane my neck to look above them at this bright blue strip of sky. There was an object about the size of a fingernail moving through the clouds, leaving a streak of white in its wake that grew longer and then broke apart.

I watched the plane until there was no trace of it left. Then I held up my hand to blot out the sliver of sky where it had been—but wasn't anymore.



I WAS BORN IN JAPAN, but I'm not Japanese.

Technically, I'm French and I'm Polish. (Well, my dad is French and my mom is Polish, but Mom moved to New Jersey when she was a baby, so I guess she's basically American?) Alison said we were American by default, but I've lived in Japan more combined years than I've lived in the States, and I spend at least a month a year in Paris, so… I'm not sure.

I was five the first time I left Tokyo, when Mom, Alison, and I moved to New Jersey so Mom could teach at Rutgers. Then, when I was thirteen, Mom got a research grant that brought us back to Tokyo for four years. Now I was seventeen, and the research grant was up, and we were New Jersey–bound. Yet again.

Sometimes, this whole good-bye thing wasn't so bad. Like, I'd had no problem leaving the giant public school I'd gone to in New Jersey or the few math and science geeks I'd occasionally sat with at lunch. And the things I actually did miss—my favorite brand of hot sauce and cheap pairs of jeans—I had my grandparents send me for my birthday.

But other times, it was awful. It was moving from Tokyo when I was a little kid and knowing my dad would be far away. It was going somewhere new and knowing that, eventually, I'd have to leave it behind. Like I was constantly floating in the second before a dream ends, waiting for the world to evaporate. Waiting for everything that seemed real to suddenly be gone.

That's what this good-bye would be like.

I knew it.

With Alison safely back in her batcave of misery, I cranked my laptop to life, put on a mix of thrashy punk songs David had made for me, and decided to go to the konbini for my mom. I shoved my wallet into my pink Musée d'Orsay tote and, since my clothes were getting sweatier by the second, picked a new outfit. A sleeveless Laura Ashley dress I'd bought at a secondhand store in Paris and a pair of bright blue sandals. I fastened my hair into two braids on top of my head, holding them in place with a couple of daisy pins. I loved this—poring through my mismatching dresses and headbands and blouses, finding stuff I'd forgotten about, combining things in a way I never had before.

Like a cracked-out preschool teacher, Mika would say.

I headed down to the kitchen and saw… Mika. Sitting on a countertop, eating from a box of koala-bear-shaped cookies.

"There you are!" she said mid-chew. Her bright blue hair was gelled into spikes, and she was wearing baggy men's jeans and a ripped T-shirt held together with a couple of safety pins. "Why didn't you answer your phone? Did you know it's really fucking hot in here?" She shook the box at me. "It's okay if I eat these, right?"

I didn't get the chance to answer, because David strode in from the living room.

"Sofa!" he said. "We were going to come find you, but then Mika started eating herself into a coma and I was going through your books. You own a lot of excellent books. This one, for example, is a personal favorite." He tossed my sister's volume of Emily Dickinson poems into the air and caught it.

"Oh my gosh!" Mika pressed her hand to her chest and fluttered her eyelashes. "Your opinion on books is, like, so fascinating!"

"Watch it," he said, flipping through the pages. "You might think Ms. Dickinson is all about weird grammar and death, but there's some seriously sexy stuff in here. Hold on. I'll read you one."

Mika flipped him off, and he playfully ruffled her spikes. And I kept standing there, trying to breathe evenly, trying not to stare at his red, smirking mouth or his dark, styled hair.

It always took a minute to acclimate to David's presence. Not just because he was gorgeous—although let the record show that he really was gorgeous. Tall with lanky muscles and deliberately tousled hair and stupidly perfect clothes. He was also the son of the Australian ambassador, which meant he had an Australian freaking accent. I wished Mika hadn't stopped him from reading that poem.

"Anyway," David said, putting the book down, "you need to get a move on, Sofa. We're going out."

My attention snapped back. "I can't. I have to pack."

"Screw that," Mika said dismissively. "You can pack after my birthday."

"Your birthday's on Friday," I said. "That's when the movers are coming."

"No!" She tossed a koala in my direction, and it landed on the floor. "Don't you ruin my birthday and your going-away party by talking about movers. Boo and hiss."

"It's not a party," I said. "You just want to go clubbing in Roppongi."

"Duh," she snorted. "Roppongi is the party." The stud in her right eyebrow glinted in the light coming through the window. She'd gotten the piercing only a few weeks earlier, when she was visiting her grandma in California. She said she'd done it for the pure pleasure of seeing her parents' faces when she landed back at Narita Airport.

"Does my mom know you're here?" I asked, feeling exactly as childish as I sounded.

David cracked up. "Who do you think let us in? She had to leave, though. Something about dry cleaning." He draped an arm around my shoulder. "Now, seriously, Sofa. Shoes on. Can't you see Mika's on the verge of a nervous breakdown?"

"Here's a thought." Mika slammed the koalas down on the counter. "Shut up."

David pulled me closer. "Don't get snippy with me. You've been peeing yourself with excitement all afternoon. All because Baby James is coming home."

"Rules!" Mika sent another koala sailing toward David's mussed hair. He caught it and popped it into his mouth, then turned to me with both eyebrows raised.

I laughed. That was his Inside Joke face. The face he made when we'd watch episodes of Flight of the Conchords in computer science instead of doing work. When he'd make up stupid songs about my hair and sing them in the lunch line. Or when we'd sit next to each other at school assemblies and he'd slip me one of his iPod earbuds. It never ceased to amaze me that David—funny, charismatic, outgoing David—wanted to spend so much time with me.

"Rules?" David swallowed. "What rules?"

"We went over this," Mika said.

David grinned. "Did we?"

"Don't be an ass," Mika said. "No making fun of Jamie tonight. No strutting around and pissing on your territory, okay? Tonight is not going to be Middle School: The Sequel."

David walked over to Mika and picked up one of her hands, holding it in both of his. "Miks. You don't have to worry about me. Baby James is one of us. We're here to welcome him back into the fold. Aren't we, Sofa?"

My mouth dried up.

"Christ." Mika tugged her hand away and dusted it off on her shirt.

David frowned.

"I can't go tonight!" I said, taking a step back, my shoulder bumping into the doorframe. "I have to pack."

Mika and David exchanged looks.

"Pack later," Mika said.

"My mom will be pissed if I leave," I said. "Besides, he's your friend. You can all hang out together, without me."

Mika seemed wary. I waited for the inevitable grilling to continue—Why don't you want to see Jamie? Why do you need to pack right now? Why are you incapable of maintaining eye contact?—but then Mika's phone rang. As soon as she answered it, her whole face lit up.

"Jamie!" she squealed.

David gasped dramatically, and Mika kicked his leg, knocking over the box of kitchen stuff Mom had been packing earlier. "Damn it!" she said. "Sorry, Sophia! No, sorry, Jamie. I'm at Sophia's, and I just knocked some shit over." She laughed. "I'm crazy pumped you're here!"

David made a gagging face and glanced at me for ap-
I smiled, but it was halfhearted at best. There was a roaring in my ears. I wanted to open the fridge and crawl inside. I wanted to push my hands against the sides of my head until I couldn't hear the tinny version of Jamie's voice coming out of Mika's phone.

Jamie Foster-Collins.

Mika's best friend, who'd been shipped off to boarding school in North Carolina three years ago while the rest of his family stayed in Tokyo. Who I hadn't contacted since then, who I hadn't even contemplated contacting. Mika's best friend. And my nothing at all.

"That is so fucking great!" Mika said. "We'll meet you there." She hung up the phone, still grinning. "He got to his apartment basically five minutes ago, but he's heading to Shibs now."

"Right, Sofa," David said. "We're leaving. The all-powerful Mika hath commanded it."

"I can't go," I said. "It's impossible for me to leave this house."

"Of course it's possible," David said. "Here, I'll show you. First, you walk to the door." He looped his arm through mine and began leading me slowly toward the back door.

I laughed and David smiled, just the corners of his lips curling up. We were standing close enough that I could smell him—the new-shirt smell of him, the dark, sweet smell of him. He looked so thrilled about making me laugh, like it was something he worked hard for. Like it was something he cared about.

"God, he practically performs for you," Mika had once said. "Whenever he makes some stupid-ass joke, I swear, he does it to impress you."

"Fine," I said. "I'll go."

David nudged my temple with his nose. "Of course you will."



BUT AS SOON AS THE TRAIN LURCHED away from Yoyogi-Uehara Station and toward Shibuya, I started to panic.


  • Praise for Seven Days of You:

    "How hard am I crushing on Seven Days of You? I'm crying, laughing, aching, and squealing all at once. I would live in this book if I could."—Becky Albertalli, award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

  • "This dazzling and genuinely romantic story shows just how much your life can change in the course of a single week."— Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

  • "Seven Days of You is a deliciously fizzy, neon-bright romance: a swoony tangle of past and future, love and friendship, and what exactly it means to be home."—Katie Cotugno, New York Times bestselling author of 99 Days

  • "Weaving in and out of Tokyo's karaoke rooms, coffee shops, night clubs, monuments, and food, food, and more food, the story delights. Have some tissues handy for the ending."—Kirkus

  • "This highly readable novel about finding home and discovering oneself will have fans of Stephanie Perkins's Anna and the French Kiss swooning."—School Library Journal

On Sale
Mar 7, 2017
Page Count
336 pages

Cecilia Vinesse

About the Author

Cecilia Vinesse is a dual citizen of the US and the UK, and, like her main characters, has spent much of her life as an expat. She is a graduate of Barnard College in New York, holds a master’s degree in creative writing from St. Andrews, and is the author of Seven Days of You and The Summer of Us. She currently lives in England.

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