‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016 With Misa Sugiura

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special seasonal feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!


About Misa Sugiura

Misa Sugiura grew up in the Midwest, went to college on the East Coast, and lived in Japan for three years before moving to Silicon Valley and becoming a high school English teacher. She loves water polo, poetry, and reuben sandwiches. Her debut novel, It’s Not Like It’s A Secret (HarperTeen), will be released May 9, 2017.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads




My family’s history is a history of letting go and moving on. It is a history of nameless orphans adopted from remote coastal villages. It is a history of stowaways, religious converts, and serial entrepreneurs. It is a history of samurai’s daughters who elope and run off to the big city.

As soon as they were married, my parents took up the mantle of history and left Japan for America. They traveled light. Instead of trunks full of ancient holiday traditions, they brought only a blank calendar to fill with new ones. And even though they were Christians, Christmas was an empty page. There were no pie recipes, no decorative holiday plates, no memories of magical Christmas mornings. Nothing but the date and a Christmas carol or two.

Still, for every Christmas that I can remember, the tree was decorated and lit; yards of plastic holly garlands were draped around doorframes; red felt stockings from Woolworth were hung by the chimney with care. Stern-faced wooden nutcrackers stood at attention on the buffet next to serene porcelain angels, all of them gazing silently at us as we ate our rice and fish. My mother made a gingerbread house from a recipe in one of her Time Life cookbooks, and my father reported having met Santa Claus on the way home from midnight service.

I realize now that my parents must have constructed this experience for my siblings and me entirely from scratch — every bit of it painstakingly cobbled together from storybooks, catalogs, and television. Uprooted, they did everything they could to help us put down roots in a history that wasn’t theirs. I don’t know how it felt to them, or how it looked to our Anglo neighbors, but to me it felt real, genuinely and authentically ours. I felt connected, however briefly, to the mythic, “traditional” America that so often eluded us, and I am grateful to my parents for giving us this improbable gift.

Title It’s Not Like It’s A Secret
Author Misa Sugiura
Pages 400 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, F/F Lesbian Romance
To Be Published May 9th, 2017 by HarperTeen
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like the fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself — the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend.



When Sana and her family move to California, she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana’s new friends don’t trust Jamie’s crowd; Jamie’s friends clearly don’t want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad’s affair is becoming too obvious to ignore.



Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl, but as she quickly learns, telling the truth is easy…what comes after it, though, is a whole lot more complicated.

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