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It's not like it's a secret by Misa Sugiura

It's not like it's a secret (edition 2017)

by Misa Sugiura

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Title:It's not like it's a secret
Authors:Misa Sugiura
Info:New York, NY : HarperTeen, 2017.
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It's Not Like It's a Secret by Misa Sugiura



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It's Not Like It's a Secret is a thoroughly enjoyable teen romance. Sixteen year old Sana and her family move from Wisconsin, where she was one of a handful of Asian students at school, to California where she is one of many. In Wisconsin she had a crush on her best friend, Trisha, who is totally straight and her crush is hopeless.

In California she meets Jamie who is a clerk in a store and it's crush at first sight. Jamie is Latino.

Author Misa Sugiura explores the difference in cultures and stereotypical perceptions such as Latinos are lazy and Asians are smart and hardworking. Sana's mother, a Japanese born American, also shares these opinions of Latinos, thus making it hard for Sana and Jamie to become friends, let alone girlfriends.

Sana's mother is stoic, showing gamen (enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity) and there are things in her life that require such strength.

Of course, like any other romance, there is girl gets girl, girl loses girl and girl gets girl back again. However this version was a joy to read. I highly recommend it. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Nov 27, 2017 |
This book was ... interesting. I was really excited before reading it because it looked like a cute contemporary romance - it wasn't.

One thing I appreciated was that it opened dialogues about the intersection of racism and sexuality, as well as racism between different groups of people. Neither of this is discussed much in YA. It's Not Like It's a Secret definitely has value in the discussions it can open in this regard.

The plot, however, was a bit frustrating. Jamie and Sana get together, Sana gets scared that Jamie cheated on her and is going to break up, so she cheats on Jamie with a guy named Caleb, and does not confront either of them about it, all while Sana is keeping quiet about her father's infidelity. Sana kind of spiralled out of control with her relationships, and while I'm glad it had a happy ending, I did feel like it was a bit unrealistic.

Sana's an interesting character because she's very inactive. She only takes action at a few opportune moments in the plot - kissing Caleb - and at the end, which shows her character growth. This is something else I appreciated, because she learned from her experiences and tried desperately to make up for it. I know Sana's actions weren't meant to be malicious. Sana was well-written enough for me to not hate her, so I do have a bit of sympathy for her.

I still feel like she shouldn't have been let off so easily by the author. I can accept her father's relationship (which turned out to be an open relationship that Sana's mother knew about) because there was communication between everyone. Sana's dishonesty I'm a bit more iffy on.

But this was an insight into issues that aren't discussed much in YA, and I do think it's worth reading. ( )
  jwmchen | Nov 4, 2017 |
Basically, this story starts out strong. It's an adorable contemporary that I needed with gay girls. And it's that. We follow Sana as she figures out her sexuality and falling for Jamie, a girl she fell for the moment she saw her. They flirt for half the book, finally kissing half way through. But it's from there things that things get uncomfortable. Sana's friends are supportive, but she still hides her relationship and flirts with Caleb, a 'friend'. Up to this point, you see racism through Sana's mother, who basically doesn't trust anyone different from herself and says horrible things. Sana is luckily the voice of reason for the first part of the book, which is key when you have racist material in stories without the book being racist itself. Which is important, because this admits that minorities can be phobic too, which is very much true. This issue arises when Sana stops being the voice of reason and says some horrible things about Mexican Americans, in front of her Mexican American girlfriend, yet Jamie isn't as upset about it as she truly deserved to be. Sana knows she saying horrible things, but she still does it. From there, things become messy. Jamie kisses her ex so Sana in turns kisses a guy and doesn't tell him she's gay. Basically, the second half of this book is a mess. ( )
  mermaidchasing | May 23, 2017 |
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When her family moves to California, Sana falls for the beautiful and smart Jamie Ramirez but struggles with differences between their diverse friend groups, a boy's sweet but unrequited affection, and her father's increasingly obvious affair.

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