A story of old wounds, new passions, and life as a Japanese-American teen.
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Why I love it
Author, There's Something About Sweetie
I love reading books with characters that are so relatable, I can picture them being any one of the teens in my neighborhood. And that’s CJ: a wisecracking 17 year old who struggles with pleasing her mother.
When CJ begins working in her family’s flower shop, she realizes she has a real knack for flower arrangement. But just as she begins to care deeply about the family business, a bomb drops: CJ’s mother wants to sell the shop. And not just to anyone, but to the very people who cheated CJ’s grandparents during the time of Japanese internment camps. Soon, CJ finds herself caught up in a big, community-rending rift and realizes she has something worth fighting for.
This book handles really deep subjects—racism, bigotry, the not-so-distant sordid past of the United States—with so much heart and open vulnerability. Misa Sugiura writes with her usual flair, tackling heavy topics with a lightness and ease that belie the subject matter. Teens of every identity will be able to see themselves in CJ and the struggles she faces, because they are universal.
Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.
She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.
Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.