Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
While fictional, the story of CJ's family mirrors that of thousands of real Japanese Americans who lost their jobs, businesses, and homes when they were sent to interment camps during World War II. Within the novel is a non-fiction chapter entitled "A Quick and Eerily Relevant History of Asians in American" that gives a brief overview of some pivotal historical events: the arrival in the mid-1800s of Chinese immigrants, laws passed to restrict the immigration of Asians and deny Chinese immigrants the right to apply for citizenship, and how the Asian "model-minority myth" was born. There's also an "Index of Flowers and Their Meanings" at the back of the book.
It's never too late to confront an injustice from the past.
Positive Role Models
As the novel begins, CJ and her mother are at odds over CJ's seeming lack of ambition (from her mother's perspective). CJ refuses, sometimes defiantly, to see her future through her mother's eyes. But even her mother must reassess her image of CJ when she bravely steps up to take on a powerful local family with a controversial racist past.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A character reveals that she became pregnant during her sophomore year after unprotected (and not described) sex and decided to have an abortion.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
A fair amount of profanity ("f--k," "crap," "s--t," "a--hole," "Jesus").
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens get high vaping and drunk on beer. CJ knows she was conceived after what her mother told her was a night of heavy drinking that left her with no memory of the man she'd had sex with.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that in Misa Sugiura's This Time Will Be Different, 17-year-old CJ Katsuyama is making big decisions about her future and trying to right a terrible wrong from her community's past. CJ's mother, a high-powered Silicon Valley executive, expects her daughter to be an over achiever and aim high when it comes to a career, while CJ has found she loves working with flowers in her aunt's shop. But CJ proves a force to be reckoned with when it's revealed that her high school was named after a man with a racist past. CJ has another fight on her hands when that same man's family wants to buy the flower shop and tear it down for redevelopment. Teens get high vaping and drunk on beer, and there's a fair amount of profanity ("f--k," "crap," "s--t," "a--hole," "Jesus"). A girl reveals she got pregnant in her sophomore year and had an abortion. The cast of characters is ethnically diverse and includes teens who are gay, lesbian, and bisexual. The book deals with the subject of WWII internment camps.
Is It Any Good?
CJ is a captivating character who holds together an unlikely mix of storylines about the "language" of flowers, unmet expectations, lesbian mixers, and World War II history. While This Time Will Be Different tackles timely, controversial topics (what should be done about public buildings named for long-dead racists, and should a new generation make amends for the actions of a racist ancestor?), it's also a sweet, relatable, and often funny coming-of-age story about a girl who's determined to find her own true self.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Books with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Characters
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate