Cover to Come
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.
I saw ‘flower shop’ and was intrigued. It sounded like something different and like something I haven’t read before. From the summary, it also sounded like this book would tackle complicated issues that don’t really have a right answer. I wanted to know more.
I’ve never read a book with a main character like CJ, but I’m so glad I got the chance to. I connected with her in a way I’ve never connected to another character. CJ feels like she doesn’t really have a ‘thing’, something she’s really good at. She feels like she is subpar at everything. She kinda feels like a failure. And wow, I have had those thoughts before. I have felt the subparness that CJ felt and just looking at that feeling and not knowing what to do with it. I was so touched by her character. I have learned to deal with those feelings and I loved seeing go down her path on how to deal with hers.
Teens are represented so accurately in this book. It’s completely amazing. The characters, their thoughts, and the situations they are put in are so reminiscent of real life. The way CJ thinks, is so close to how I think and how I’ve seen other teens talk. I don’t see that very often, probably because I read a lot of fantasy haha, but I thought it was really cool. CJ has feelings she doesn’t know how to deal with. She gets petty, angry, and upset. She messes up. It’s so, so real. She always owns up to her mistakes and grows. So many characters in this book want to do better. I loved seeing that.
This book also included a lot of recent events and I actually believed this book was taking place around our time. A lot of contemporaries feel like they are in this weird time vortex where I can never quite pinpoint when it’s taking place. I know this is due how slow publishing is and I actually don’t mind it! It was just really cool to for this book to feel so touch with modern times.
Another theme that runs through this book doing what you want, doing your best, and being fine with what you want to do. Also, doing better and being better and making things different than last time. I loved seeing that.
All in all, this book deals with the complicated, messy reality of life. I loved the casual queer characters, the theme of standing up for what you believe in, and learning to accept yourself. And the flowers! They were very relevant throughout the book and it was cool to learn more about their magic. I can’t wait to see this book on shelves!
Thank you for reading!