I loved this book. I loved it so much that I don't even know where to start. The characters - CJ and her friends and family. The relationships show how fully realized these characters were written. And, the history of the Japanese American internment during one of the more shameful parts of our history. CJ's grandparents were unlawfully imprisoned and the financial losses and outright racism were staggering for all the Japanese Americans. Throughout the plot, CJ weaves in her past relationships as well as family history in such a natural way. But, she also manages to tell this shameful history that isn't preachy and WHY it's still relevant, all these decades later. Just as important, these kids, are kids, with kid problems including relationships, parents, coming out and things that just happen in high school.— Audrey H.
For fans of Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, and Sandhya Menon, critically acclaimed author Misa Sugiura delivers a richly crafted contemporary YA novel about family, community, and the importance of writing your own history.
The author of the Asian Pacific American Award-winning It’s Not Like It’s a Secret is back with another smartly drawn coming-of-age novel that weaves riveting family drama, surprising humor, and delightful romance into a story that will draw you in from the very first page.
Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.
She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.
Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.
About the Author
Misa Sugiura’s ancestors include a poet, a priestess, a samurai, and a stowaway. Her first novel, It’s Not Like It’s a Secret, was the winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for YA Literature. Her second novel, This Time Will be Different, is the HarperCollins Children's Books Lead Read for Summer 2019. Misa lives under a giant oak tree in Silicon Valley with her husband, two sons, two cats, and a graybanded king snake. Visit her online at www.misasugiura.com.
★ “Sugiura deftly weaves historical fact into this coming-of-age narrative, providing an entertaining and informative backdrop that allows CJ to explore her own sense of identity while giving readers a front seat to her process.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
★ “Sugiura tackles an abundance of topics with finesse, including social and economic injustice, allyship, and feminism, simultaneously breaking down the Asian-American immigration narrative and the myth of the model minority. Essential.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
★ “A gripping, emotionally charged story that presents a window into a uniquely Japanese American experience.”
— School Library Journal (starred review)
“An engaging picture of a girl facing the past—both her family’s and her own—in service of her future.”
— Horn Book Magazine
“One of the most authentic, steadfastly real teen characters I’ve read in recent memory. CJ deals with racism, familial strife, and finding herself with a charm and grace I couldn’t get enough of. Her pitch-perfect voice leaped off the page and stayed with me. Highly, highly recommend.”
— Sandhya Menon, New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi
“At turns delightfully humorous and wonderfully insightful. The cultural nuances were perfect, and I found myself utterly transported. I can’t wait to read what Sugiura writes next.”
— Renée Ahdieh, New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath & the Dawn
“Insightful. Intricate. Honest. With richly drawn characters that feel utterly real, Misa Sugiura reminds us that the past is always present, but that we hold the power to shape our future, if we’re brave enough to face it.”
— Samira Ahmed, New York Times bestselling author of Love, Hate & Other Filters and Internment
“Refreshingly complex. An astute look at privilege, power, and history in sometimes unexpected forms.”
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Sugiura’s deep dive into mother-daughter relationships, the fragility of self-worth, and the gathering of courage resonates deeply.”
— ALA Booklist
“CJ will break your heart, reassemble it, and put it in a gorgeous flower arrangement that’ll make your heart soar. A lovely and complicated story of different forms of love and figuring out who you want to be in the world.”
— Sara Farizan, award-winning author of If You Could Be Mine and Here to Stay
“A beautiful, exquisitely crafted story about finding your voice. This Time Will Be Different boasts complex characters with deep-rooted histories, and the exploration of what it means to be a good ally is both timely and necessary. I was captivated from the first page.”
— Akemi Dawn Bowman, author of Starfish and Summer Bird Blue
“Hilarious and fiercely loyal, CJ is one of my favorite characters to hit the page in a long time. This smart and thought-provoking tale of the bonds that connect family, and second chances, will have you cheering in your seats.”
— Stacey Lee, award-winning author of Outrun the Moon and The Secret of a Heart Note
“Strikes that perfect balance of light-hearted humor and emotional depth. I adored CJ and her journey. Using an inventive narrative structure to explore friendship and romance alongside family and history, Misa Sugiura has created a truly fun and thoughtful read.”
— Maurene Goo, author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love
“Smart, funny, and huge-hearted. You will cheer for CJ as she blooms in the most beautiful of ways. A fierce anthem for protecting (and fighting for) the values and boundaries of your own heart, even as they shift on you.”
— Kim Culbertson, author of Catch a Falling Star and The Possibility of Now
PRAISE FOR It’s Not Like It’s a Secret: ★“Sugiura thoughtfully explores intersecting issues of race, immigrant-family relationships, queer romance, and, less explicitly, class dynamics without implying the significance of one over the others. Well-paced, brimming with drama, and utterly vital.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An essential and delightful choice that realistically celebrates a teen’s discovery of trust in herself and in others.”
— School Library Journal
“A queer coming-of-age story that also tackles big topics like adultery, racism, and the cultural conflicts of immigrant families.”