This Time Will Be Different – Misa Sugiura – Harper Teen – Published 4 June 2019
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.
This Time Will Be Different is an endearing novel about family and family history, flowers and the magic of the language of flowers, and friendship, crushes and romance. It’s about growing up, discovering more about the world and yourself and your place in it. It’s about standing up for what’s right and learning to move on. It’s fun, cute and romantic and sure to please YA contemporary fiction readers.
CJ Katusyma likes working in her family’s florist. It’s perhaps the one thing she hasn’t yet messed up and while it doesn’t exactly make her mother proud of her at least she’s not a disappointment in her Aunt Hannah’s eyes. But when CJ’s mother threatens to sell the shop to none other than the man who stole it from CJ’s ancestors, CJ, Hannah and their new assistant, Oliver (dorky history geek and, ok, yes, slightly cute), plan to turn things around and prevent the sale. But life gets even more complicated with her best friend starts crushing on the sworn enemy, CJ is torn between geeky-cute Oliver and her long-term crush who is finally showing her some interest, and her relationship with her mother deteriorates.
Romance plays a big part of this story. Crushes, first love, breakups, heartbreak, and watching your best friend falling in love, first dates, old romantic histories, and even the relationships of CJ’s aunt. There is also a focus on LGBT relationships thanks to CJ’s best friend and their involvement in the LGBT+ community and awareness raising.
Through flashback sections between the main chapters, the readers are given insight into CJ’s family history and major events in her life. There is actually quite an interesting reveal within this about CJ. I won’t say what as it feels spoilerish but I’ll include the themes it encompasses at the base of my review.
I love books about nature, gardening or flowers and I really enjoyed the floristry aspect of the book. The language of flowers and CJ’s semi-belief in their power, and her work in her family’s florist was really cool.
This Time Will Be Different is an Important book that covers Important issues (yes, capital I). From LGBT+ awareness, to racial prejudice and righting the wrongs of the past, This Time Will Be Different weaves in some powerful messages that CJ actively fights for and believes in.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Family, flowers, florists, relationships, LBGT+, racial prejudice, ancestry, abortion, romance, dating, sex, mother-daughter relationships.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: References to sexual relationships. Frequent coarse language, f*** (45), sh** (78), pi** (6), as***** (10), di** (2), bit** (5). References to abortion.
Published: 4 June 2019 by HarpenTeen
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 400 pages.