Review: It’s Not Like It’s a Secret

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

Published by HarperCollins in May, 2017

The first half of this book was actually really good. It wasn’t wow but it was perfectly enjoyable and I thought that it was a cute romance that I could recommend to just about anyone. Then, it wasn’t anymore. 

Let’s start with the good things. This story follows a girl named Sana who moves from Wisconsin to California. This opens a whole new world for her. She’s not the only Asian kid anymore, and she finds new friends with who she can be herself. (The Asian rep is own voices.) There’s a Mexican girl (Jamie) who catches Sana’s attention in particular. Ethnicity and racism play a huge part in this book. I liked that, it’s nice with a book that include both PoC and LGBTQ+ characters, especially when they’re girls. That’s not all too common. So you can imagine how much I wanted to love this book. And I did like the fact that the struggles of PoC was brought into this, and that it didn’t focus on white people AT ALL, and I liked the romance part. At least for the first half of the book. Unfortunately, this is where the good things end.

Where things started going downhill for real is when Sana spills her racism and prejudice toward Lantix people in front of Jamie’s friends. This wouldn’t bother me as much if it was handled better, but while Sana does get called out, she goes defensive and whines for the rest of the book. And the whole thing is kind of swiped aside. I wasn’t having it. Her whining is actually what made the book drop so many stars for me. That, and the fact that she blames everyone else for her bad decisions. I’m going to explain this using no spoilers but to give you the general idea.

Character: Does something stupid

Character: Talks to Sana and apologies

Sana: Does the same stupid thing

Sana: Says it was ‘Character’s fault

I’m sorry, what? Just no. If you haven’t guessed yet, I wasn’t the biggest fan of her. Sometimes, an unlikable protagonist can be interesting, but Sana was plain annoying. I also think I was supposed to feel some sort of sympathy for her? I didn’t. Then there’s the whole business of Sana’s friends, but I’m Tired™ so I won’t go into details.

I can’t really recommend this book, but as Goodreads user Audrey put’s it: I guess this will be another exercise in “how much am I willing to put up with for the sake of lesbians”‘. By which I mean, the book wasn’t great, but I understand if you want to read it anyway. Or, stop at 50%. That would probably be ideal. There was sort of a redemption towards the end, but overall, disappointing. 

Rating: 2 stars

This was of course part of my reading for #PRIDEMONTHBOOKS. Have you read any LGBTQIA+ novels yet?

Oh, and you didn’t think I’d leave you without a good f/f rec, did you? I read How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake a few days ago and I loved it! I won’t write a review because I don’t have enough to say about it, but I absolutely recommend it. It’s a perfect summer read. Also, own voices bisexual rep.


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