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Heart and depth

Cover of It's Not Like it's a Secre
A review of It's Not Like it's a Secret by Misa Sugira

I tried it, and I liked it! I’m not usually into angsty teen romance novels, but Sugiura provides plenty of layers to this one. Sana is discovering her sexual identity (lesbian), she is discovering her father’s infidelity (he is having an affair of sorts), and at the same time she is struggling with her peers’ racism (she is of Japanese descent), and her own racism (she falls for a Latina girl at her high school and stumbles with her own preconceived beliefs). All of this is a lot for a coming of age novel to take on and this one does it in an artistic and believable way. Sana is the quiet type who hates open conflict and her growth is presented in all its painful, awkward and problematic glory. Sugiura uses the device of an assigned poetry journal to push Sana’s internal-diegetic even further. The device could easily become gimmicky, but it doesn’t. All in all this is a great teen romance with heart and depth.

Apr 19, 2022