It's Not Like It's a Secret by Misa Sugiura

It's Not Like It's a Secret

Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend.When Sana and her family move to Califo...

Title:It's Not Like It's a Secret
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Kindle Edition
Number of Pages:400 pages

It's Not Like It's a Secret Reviews

  • Christina
    Dec 23, 2016

    Loved this one. Sugiura gracefully tackled so many difficult and sometimes sensitive topics, while also creating fully-fleshed, relatable characters. Sana's voice is spot on. I can't wait to have this gorgeous book on my shelf to share with my students.

  • Brooke
    Jun 09, 2017

    A few months back, I became aware that SECRET had cheating as one of its largest themes. Admittedly this discouraged me a bit, but I was still intrigued to read it as it was on my TBR for almost a year.

    Surprisingly the cheating characters wasn't my biggest gripe (although it really ruined my experience)- it was the instalove between the two MCs, Sana & Jaime. Except physical appeal, I had no clue why these two were attracted to each other. This led me to not believe their relationship as it

    A few months back, I became aware that SECRET had cheating as one of its largest themes. Admittedly this discouraged me a bit, but I was still intrigued to read it as it was on my TBR for almost a year.

    Surprisingly the cheating characters wasn't my biggest gripe (although it really ruined my experience)- it was the instalove between the two MCs, Sana & Jaime. Except physical appeal, I had no clue why these two were attracted to each other. This led me to not believe their relationship as it evolved, nor care about the outcome. I've been turning away from YA romances recently but anything that's F/F you can pretty much bet I have on my TBR so naturally I was rooting for their relationship. However, it quickly fizzled out considering that Sana & Jaime really had nothing in common & it was more of an opportunistic occurrence out of convenience rather than a genuine romance.

    Add onto this & the fact that the MCs basically cheat on each other- it's more complex than that, but no spoilers 🚫. Their lack of communication really turned me off- I know this is a realistic aspect of many teen relationships, but I already wasn't feeling it, so. 👻 Sana also discovers that her father is seeing another woman, which brings some interesting conversations about Asian culture & her mother's opinion on it.

    There were a few pros to this book, so it wasn't a complete wash. The racism between minorities & prejudices of Asian & Mexican cultures raises necessary & uncomfortable discussions & tackles stereotypes. While I can't say it was all tackled with finesse & gentleness, I am glad that Sugiura included them. I'm not surprised by Sana's mother's reaction to Sana's coming out, but I did appreciate the role her parents had in her life.

    I was really hoping IT'S NOT LIKE IT'S A SECRET to be heavy on the romance & less on cheating/instalove/shitty stereotypes, but I'm satisfied that I at least know I didn't miss out on anything. The pacing is fine, the prose could have been stronger (as well as the poem concept!), & the ending is too tidy, but overall a halfway decent read on a day off.

  • Ilana
    Nov 20, 2016

    Misa Sugiura is a beautiful writer, and this book is wondrous, engaging, important, and will be beloved by many.

  • Sonia
    Feb 23, 2017

    This book was different than many other YA I've read in its honest and complex portrayal of race, all within the context of a burgeoning lesbian romance. Sana is a believable and relatable protagonist, caught between trying to satisfy her strict parents and also feel like part of her peer group. I loved the tie-ins with poetry and the way Sana was able to find herself in the words of others.

  • Elise (The Bookish Actress)
    Feb 10, 2017

    This is maybe the most disappointing book I read this year. Cute contemporary, romance between two girls, ownvoices racial rep... yeah, it sounded great to me too. But I had so many issues with this book.

    The first half is genuinely really cute! I actually loved the first half. Jamie and Sana have some great romantic buildup before they get together. There's an insta-crush, but things progress very well from there. They exchange poetry and are just generally incredibly sweet.

    There'

    This is maybe the most disappointing book I read this year. Cute contemporary, romance between two girls, ownvoices racial rep... yeah, it sounded great to me too. But I had so many issues with this book.

    The first half is genuinely really cute! I actually loved the first half. Jamie and Sana have some great romantic buildup before they get together. There's an insta-crush, but things progress very well from there. They exchange poetry and are just generally incredibly sweet.

    There's a good portrayal of racism between different nonwhite communities, which is really rare in YA! This book did not shy away from heavy topics. I definitely appreciated that. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how well it was all

    .

    Half of the moments between Jamie and Sana have a time jump. Look, I'm sorry, but I'm here for the lesbians, and if that storyline isn't pulling its weight, what exactly am I here for?

    The plotting and actual handling of issues is a complete mess, especially in the second half. The author wanted to fit several different difficult storylines in, and they didn't tie together, and some of the issues ended up coming off badly just because they didn't get enough page time. For example, Sana's issues with anti-latina racism are really not handled very well. Not because the author didn't have the best intentions at heart, but because they don't get enough pagetime.

    As soon as the cheating popped up, this book immediately went from a solid 3 to a 2. I don't see why a cheating storyline was necessary in a supposedly cute and fluffy book about teens falling in love. I have issues surrounding cheating, and I am almost never willing to ship a couple when one cheats on the other. But you know what, whatever. I hate cheating and I can't read about it and enjoy it.

    I can't recommend this at all.

  • Laura
    Jun 06, 2017

    I made the mistake of thinking this was just a contemporary romance between two girls, but it actually has a lot more to the story. Racism being the most common theme throughout. There is racism from one POC to another, which is not often portrayed. Because of these themes, racism is very present and can make readers uncomfortable. However, it is often called out by another character or Sana ponders what just happened addressing the racism head on. Stereotyping is one of the main ways racism occ

    I made the mistake of thinking this was just a contemporary romance between two girls, but it actually has a lot more to the story. Racism being the most common theme throughout. There is racism from one POC to another, which is not often portrayed. Because of these themes, racism is very present and can make readers uncomfortable. However, it is often called out by another character or Sana ponders what just happened addressing the racism head on. Stereotyping is one of the main ways racism occurs in the story. This is a very diverse story with Asian, Mexican, and queer characters present. I cannot speak on how offensive these are personally.

    The romance was meh. It is pretty insta-love. And then the cheating storyline happens taking away from the "oh it'll be a sweet romance." Nope. I hated the justification of the cheating. This all was pretty frustrating.

    But then I go back to the racism portrayal and the growth we see in Sana. Maybe if we saw this sort of thing more, I'd have enjoyed this less because the romance really turned me off. It's nice to see people grow and learn from others after struggling and making some bad choices earlier on. I am curious how others feel about the portrayal, so I think I'll come back to these reviews later on and see what everyone is thinking.

    I won this through goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jasmine from How Useful It Is
    Apr 03, 2017

    About: It’s Not Like It’s a Secret is a fiction novel written by Misa Sugiura. It will be published on 5/9/17 by Harper Teen, 400 pages. The genres are GLBT, Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, and Romance. This book is intended for readers ages 13 and up, grades 8 and up.

    My Experience: I started reading It’s Not Like It’s a Secret on 3/31/17 and finished it on 4/3/17. This book is a great read! It’s fast paced, easy to read, and relatable. It has diversity like The Upside of Unrequited and light

    About: It’s Not Like It’s a Secret is a fiction novel written by Misa Sugiura. It will be published on 5/9/17 by Harper Teen, 400 pages. The genres are GLBT, Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, and Romance. This book is intended for readers ages 13 and up, grades 8 and up.

    My Experience: I started reading It’s Not Like It’s a Secret on 3/31/17 and finished it on 4/3/17. This book is a great read! It’s fast paced, easy to read, and relatable. It has diversity like The Upside of Unrequited and light hearted like To All the Boys I Have Loved Before. I like the humor & diversity in this book. This book also have the feels of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by having foreign languages in the mix.

    In this book, readers will follow Sana Kiyohara, a 16 years old Japanese American high school student from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (yay! I used to live there! And yup I know about Wisconsin Dells & Lake Michigan :-)) being the only Asian girl who couldn’t fit in to the Midwestern Famer’s Daughter. She feels secluded not only by her looks but also by her strict parents. Then her family relocated to California where everywhere she goes, majority of the people are minority (Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, etc). She finally has friends who understands her because other Asian parents are strict too. Through discovering where she can fit in, she’s also discovering herself. In the meantime, she also accidentally found out a secret and hesitated whether she should come forward or keep it hidden. Her mom always taught her to “gaman” which means to endure when face with difficulties. This book also introduces stereotypes, racisms, and poetry.

    This book is very relatable to many Asian readers but also a good reminders to the general population. The stereotypes labels about people are ongoing and this book just brought it out in the open for discussions. I like learning about Japanese cultures in this book and how alike they are to other Asians. This book is packed with a lot of happenings. There is no dull moment. I’m not good with poetry and the poems in this book are explained and I like that. I like Sana and all that she’s exposed to. I highly recommend the read to everyone!

    Pro: friendship, humor, diversity, acceptance, stereotypes, fast paced, page turner, poetry, relatable

    Con: none

    I rate it 5 stars!

    ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to the author Misa Sugiura, publisher Harper Teen, and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review. Please assured that my opinions are honest.

    xoxo,

    Jasmine at

  • Sarah
    Apr 16, 2017

    (I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

    This was a YA contemporary romance story about a gay Japanese-American girl.

    I liked Sana in this although she did show poor judgement at times. I did like how loyal she was to her mother though.

    The storyline in this was about Sana moving with her family to California as her father had a new job. She then fell for a girl called Jam

    (I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

    This was a YA contemporary romance story about a gay Japanese-American girl.

    I liked Sana in this although she did show poor judgement at times. I did like how loyal she was to her mother though.

    The storyline in this was about Sana moving with her family to California as her father had a new job. She then fell for a girl called Jamie, and spent a lot of time not knowing whether Jamie liked her back or not, and also worrying over whether her father was having an affair after seeing some incriminating text messages on his phone. The romance between Sana and Jamie was quite cute, but I felt really sorry for Caleb, who clearly had feelings for Sana himself. I also disliked the cheating in this book, as Sana really did show poor judgement in that respect.

    The ending to this was okay, although I wasn’t 100% happy with the way things ended with regards to Sana’s father’s affair.

    6.5 out of 10


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