This Time Will Be Different) once again delivers an emotional story, this time from the perspective of a Japanese American teen from Illinois. Nozomi Nagai, 17, and her brother Max, 21, are spending part of the summer in San Francisco, working at the private museum their uncle Stephen curates and catching up with their grandmother, Baba. Nozomi is happy to leave the drama of her parents’ divorce behind, and a summer away is exactly what she needs to reinvent herself following the embarrassment of a pity kiss from the girl of her dreams. When Nozomi’s crush, Willow, asks her to fake a relationship to make Willow’s ex jealous, optimistic Nozomi thinks the arrangement might be an opportunity to win Willow’s affection. Things grow more complicated when it becomes clear both that Baba is starting to lose her memory and that Willow may not be the girl for Nozomi. Alongside swoony first kisses, Sugiura steeps this romance in cultural and generational specificity, exploring traditional Baba’s unwillingness to accept same-sex relationships and the heartbreak that poses for her family. Ages 13–up. Agent: Leigh Feldman, Leigh Feldman Literary. (June)
Delightfully romantic and hugely refreshing! I loved every page!” — Julie Murphy, #1
New York Times Bestselling author of Dumplin ’
“A laugh-out-loud, tender, and wholly satisfying read.” —
“Sugiura expertly details an intricate web of relationships with exquisite precision and wonderfully cringey moments to explore the joys, frustrations, and conundrums of love.“ — David Yoon,
New York Times bestselling author of Frankly in Love
"An adorable rom-com." — School Library Journal
This Time Will Be Different: “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)
“Fresh, vibrant, affecting and powerful.” —
New York Times Book Review
“A gripping, emotionally charged story that presents a window into a uniquely Japanese American experience.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“With intelligent dialogue surrounding diversity, representation and responsible social action,
This Time Will Be Different is a timely, smart novel that readers of contemporary teen fiction will likely devour.” — Shelf Awareness
“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)
It's Not Like It's a Secret: “The graceful complexity of this first-person narrative is an accomplishment in itself. Sana is a fully realized protagonist with faults and unacknowledged privilege alongside her nuanced experience of identity and “model minority” racism. 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
Sugiura expertly details an intricate web of relationships with exquisite precision and wonderfully cringey moments to explore the joys, frustrations, and conundrums of love.“
Delightfully romantic and hugely refreshing! I loved every page!
A queer coming-of-age story that also tackles big topics like adultery, racism, and the cultural conflicts of immigrant families.
Gr 8 Up—When the opportunity to kiss her crush at an end of the school year party doesn't go as planned, Japanese American teen Nozomi is convinced she is just beige wallpaper—plain and unmemorable. She is looking forward to a summer spent away in San Francisco, interning at her uncle's art gallery, as a chance to reinvent herself and, hopefully, have the perfect summer romance. Enter Willow, an incredibly gorgeous Asian girl who works in the gallery's gift shop and is heartbroken over a recent breakup with her girlfriend. Willow, feeling betrayed and spiteful, suggests that they fake date to make her ex jealous. Nozomi jumps at the chance, hoping that through the process Willow will fall in love with her. Sugiura brings readers an adorable rom-com where the conflict isn't focused on the character's sexuality. While Nozomi is a frustrating main character at times, putting herself before others and getting into cringe-worthy situations, many teens will find her relatable. On the surface, this appears to be a predictable romance novel with a fake dating trope, but it goes deeper than that. The story also digs into the intersection of race and queerness along with other topics like dementia, the fallout of divorce, and homophobia. VERDICT A fun romance that engages with deeper issues.— Alicia Kalan, The Northwest Sch., Seattle
Can you fake your way into the heart of the person you want?
Hopeless romantic Nozomi Nagai is a queer, Japanese American 17-year-old from Glenview, Illinois. Over the summer, she and her older brother, Max, are interning at their gay uncle Stephen’s museum in San Francisco and spending quality time with Baba, their aging grandmother who has dementia. Riddled with insecurity from a humiliating rejection by her back-at-home crush, Nozomi is determined to have a transformational summer romance. She instantly crushes on gorgeous Willow—“like a teenage Gemma Chan”—who works in the museum’s gift shop. Trouble is, Willow is heartbroken: She was just dumped by Arden, an equally gorgeous Black girl who has moved on to be with Dela, a teenage White/Japanese artist with an installation at the museum. When ambiguous comments between Nozomi and Willow leave their social media followers speculating, Nozomi instigates a fake romance in hopes that it will eventually become real. What ensues are hilarious and often cringeworthy situations that Sugiura imbues with depth. By giving voice to Nozomi’s internal struggles with her parents’ pending divorce, strained relationship with her mom, and fear of rejection by homophobic Baba, she layers a complex rom-com plot with deep insights about honest and patient love. That Nozomi’s racial and sexual identities aren’t treated as issues but simply parts of who she is is also refreshing.
A laugh-out-loud, tender, and wholly satisfying read.
With intelligent dialogue surrounding diversity, representation and responsible social action,
This Time Will Be Different is a timely, smart novel that readers of contemporary teen fiction will likely devour.
Fresh, vibrant, affecting and powerful.
New York Times Book Review