This Time Will Be Different By: Misa Sugiura

Miss Sugiura’s novel “This Time Will Be Different” follows seventeen-year-old CJ Katsuyama, who struggles to live up to her mother’s ambitious expectations. Content with helping her aunt at their family’s flower shop, CJ discovers a talent for arranging bouquets despite her skepticism about the romanticized meanings of flowers. When CJ’s mother decides to sell the shop to the family that swindled CJ’s grandparents during WWII internment camps, it sparks a rift in their community. CJ finds herself fighting for what she believes in, navigating themes of racism, family dynamics, and first loves.

The novel delves into issues of racism, exploring whether history truly stays in the past and how individuals can move forward from past oppressions. It also addresses the model minority myth and challenges stereotypes surrounding Asian Americans. The story intricately weaves together family relationships, particularly focusing on CJ’s complex dynamic with her mother and aunt. CJ grapples with feelings of disappointment as she tries to find her place between her mother’s ambition and her aunt’s whimsical nature.

In addition to familial struggles, CJ navigates friendship and romance issues throughout the narrative. Her relationships undergo challenges based on grudges, jealousy, and the need for change. The novel emphasizes vulnerability in love and the importance of taking risks despite potential heartbreak.

The author of the award-winning Asian Pacific American It’s Not Like It’s a Secret is back with another smartly drawn coming-of-age novel that intertwines engaging family drama, Unexpected humor and exciting romance into a story that will hook you from the first moment.

Katsuyamas never gives up – but 17-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mother’s Type-A ambitions, and she’s perfectly happy helping Aunt Hannah at their family’s flower shop.

She doesn’t trust 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 that she can even be proud of.

Her mother then decides to sell the store – to the family that defrauded CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to concentration camps during World War II. Before long, a rift threatens to tear apart CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time CJ found something she wanted to fight for.

This young adult novel tackles some heavy issues: racism, homophobia, parental expectations, conflicts with friends, and changing economic issues. The main character, CJ, is a Japanese American who doesn’t know her father, and we see CJ’s family business—a flower shop—struggling, and she tries her best to avoid it. sell the business to the family for profit. internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. There are some great scenes showing the right and wrong ways to be an ally, and the characters are called out when they do wrong. CJ makes a lot of mistakes and her friendships suffer as a result, but she tries to work things out by having difficult conversations and examining her own biases. Overall, this is a thorough examination of the lasting effects of racism and how best to move forward and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

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