It’s another hot day here so I spent it reading… again! But I’m not complaining. Today I read another LGBT-centric book in honor of June being Pride month!
Title: Not Like It’s A Secret
Author: Misa Sugiura
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
As you can tell from the rating, I didn’t really like this book. But first, let me point out what I did like. I thought that the intersectionality of the main character, Sana, was something that we need in the world of YA. We need representation of different ethnicities, and identities, and affectional orientations. I thought that traditional Japanese values were represented here, even though sometimes they were stereotypical. Some of the characters even admitted things they said were stereotypical! I also think the Mexican-American prejudice debate was also touched on well here and the differences in how Caucasian people perceive the Mexican group vs the Asian group with their encounter with a police officer. Sana’s struggle in relation to her sexuality was also interesting in the idea of intersectionality and her “mixed race” relationship with Jamie is also something that needs representation.
This book was full of microaggression after microaggression. If you don’t know what that is, it is “the casual degradation of any marginalized group” (thanks Google for the official definition). There was a lot of those in this book and they came from characters with plenty of different backgrounds, against characters of other marginalized backgrounds. I thought examining these stereotypes across ethnicities was interesting. I recently took a course on social and cultural diversity, where I learned about many multicultural issues, so seeing them in a novel was intriguing.
I didn’t really connect with Sana, who is the main character. I am not a fan of contemporaries usually, but I do read them to get away from the constant fantasy from time to time. My usual problem with contemporaries is that I can’t relate, and I feel like this is what happened with Sana. She seemed like a sweet character trying to find her way in the world, but I just didn’t LOVE her. I did like the fact that she challenged her mom’s stereotypical beliefs and I liked how she handled confronting someone who said something racist or offensive. I felt like this book just breezed by and I didn’t have enough time to truly connect with the characters. That’s why this book has such a low rating, but I wanted to review it and point out what I did like about it! Also, the title was also strangely not appropro, because it kind of was a secret till the end of the book.
I would recommend this book to people who are looking for more diverse reads and Asian/Latinx/LGBT representation. I felt that the LGBT representation was very good and it was examined more within Asian and Mexican culture.
Happy reading! ~ Taylor