I will never forget the experience of picking up and reading this book. I bought it from my small town Target on a near-perfect day; one of my closest friends and I had spent the night having photo shoots, chasing rainbows, and eating fro-yo. I’d been very eager to read a contemporary, and this one felt like it would be the perfect, light choice. Somehow, my experience with this book was just as ideal as the day I had found it. You know those books that find you, as if by magic, at the exact right time in your life? This was one of those books. This Time Will Be Different by Misa Seguira follows 17-year-old CJ Katsuyama. CJ has never been good at anything, but when she finally starts working in her family’s flower shop, she discovers passion, joy, and skill in flower arranging. Soon, though, this happiness is threatened by a looming deal to sell the shop.
This story ties in the history of Japanese Internment Camps with the present pressures of being a teenager to create a beautiful, thought provoking tale of family, activism, and friendship. I cannot express the fond memories that this story has left me with and the impact it has had. It was a read I was not prepared for, and I am extremely excited to delve into it today.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
The plot of this book left me in complete awe. In my personal life, my connection with my family and ancestors is extremely important to me, and seeing something similarly reflected in a story was amazing. There was also an element of activism to this story. I spend a lot of hours within the activism community, and I was overjoyed to see it portrayed in a book. I found it to be a refreshing and accurate take on teen life, since there are many young adults who can relate to it!
Sugiura’s characters were a highlight of the novel. Her diverse cast of characters managed to all be plausible teenagers, and I was genuinely surprised by the accuracy. Social dynamics among teens have evolved since our parents were in high school, and many YA books seem to have not gotten the memo. This Time Will Be Different didn’t fall into the trap of perfect, blonde mean girls, and instead undertook the complexity and subjectivity of high school hierarchies. I had some issues with the portrayal of a few characters, yet they were mostly resolved by the end of the novel.
The writing style Sugiura employed was refreshing and honest. She explained complex topics of racism and activism with ease. I found myself learning so much from this story and deeply enjoying the way that all the information was presented.
In conclusion, This Time Will Be Different was a beautiful story that I am incredibly lucky to have read.