Cover Image: Love & Other Natural Disasters

Love & Other Natural Disasters

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Member Reviews

Love and Other Natural Disasters is a heartwarming romance about a girl who thinks she can create the perfect love story. Fans of fake dating will love this queer twist on the fake summer romance. 

Read my full review for Culturess here: https://culturess.com/2021/06/09/love-and-other-natural-disasters-review/

Read my interview with the author for Culturess here:  https://culturess.com/2021/06/24/interview-misa-sugiura-love-natural-disasters/
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I loved This Time Will Be Different, so I was excited to read another novel by Misa Sugiura. While I think I still prefer the previous novel, I enjoyed the change of pace that a queer romance provided. Sugiura provides the characters enough room to flail, learn, and grow, and while there were some frustrating instances of being hung up on people who clearly weren't interested, that seems to be par for the course for these stories.
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This was recommended if the reader was a fan of Jenny Hahn’s work which I am so I definitely wanted to check this one out!
Premise 
When Nozomi Nagai pictured the ideal summer romance, a fake one wasn’t what she had in mind.

That was before she met the perfect girl. Willow is gorgeous, glamorous, and…heartbroken? And when she enlists Nozomi to pose as her new girlfriend to make her ex jealous, Nozomi is a willing volunteer.

Because Nozomi has a master plan of her own: one to show Willow she’s better than a stand-in, and turn their fauxmance into something real. But as the lies pile up, it’s not long before Nozomi’s schemes take a turn toward disaster…and maybe a chance at love she didn’t plan for.
This was my second LGBTQ book only this time from the female perspective. It was fun watching Nozomi and her different schemes navigate the way to true love.
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I get who the audience was for this and I'm just not it! I loved the diversity of the characters and I especially loved Zozo's uncle and his husband, but I found myself groaning at Nozomi as a main character from the very beginning and I never did warm up to her.
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More people need to be reading and talking about this fantastic queer YA rom-com!

Not only is Misa's writing lovely and engaging, but this "fauxmance" plot smartly covers the *messiness* and sometimes bad decisions of first love and exploration of those feelings. It has believable character arcs while still allowing room for future what if's and for the things in life that sometimes remain unresolved in the present -- like relationships and personal growth.

The synopsis:

When Nozomi Nagai pictured the ideal summer romance, a fake one wasn’t what she had in mind.

That was before she met the perfect girl. Willow is gorgeous, glamorous, and…heartbroken? And when she enlists Nozomi to pose as her new girlfriend to make her ex jealous, Nozomi is a willing volunteer.

Because Nozomi has a master plan of her own: one to show Willow she’s better than a stand-in, and turn their fauxmance into something real. But as the lies pile up, it’s not long before Nozomi’s schemes take a turn toward disaster…and maybe a chance at love she didn’t plan for.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read and give it a big thumbs up!

A big thank-you to HarperTeen and NetGalley for e-book in exchange for my honest, unbiased review!
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I absolutely loved this book and I think it had awesome writing, plot and characters! The diversity was amazing: Asian main and side characters, sapphic main and side  characters, gay side characters. It also dealt with some topics that should be talked about more such as grief, dementia, parental loss, and just the feeling of not being enough for someone. I really loved all of the characters (well except for a few exceptions) but i think my favorite character was one of the love interests, they just had so much depth and characters growth. I liked that almost rom com feel it had to it and the fake dating was cool but it also made me so frustrated sometimes haha. The only reason I took off a star was because I felt like the book shouldn’t have ended so soon, but I still cannot wait to read more from this author!!
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Love and Other Natural Disasters was a book that was easy to get into. From the beginning, I could tell that it was going to be set up as a romantic comedy. Unfortunately, there were times when the comedy felt more cringeworthy than romantic comedy. The main character would do or say something that was just so awkward and then I would feel embarrassed for her. This happened multiple times throughout the book which made it difficulty to fully like her as a character. 

The character that I'm referring to is Zozo. She is a young Asian American woman who has been dreaming of her perfect woman and wanting to find her. Zozo and her brother Max take a trip to San Francisco to visit their grandmother and uncles and intern at an art museum. On the first day there, she encounters Willow and Jade - one of which she becomes immediately enthralled by - and the other whom she immediately takes a strong disliking to.  She becomes involved in a faux-romance in order to make another girl jealous and it soon becomes apparent  that things are not always like they seem on the surface. In fact, they can be much more complicated. 

Like I said Zozo could be a cringe worthy character because she makes so many faux pas throughout Love and Other Natural Disasters. At first, it was cute because she was insecure and trying to figure out things. After a while though, it did get a little grating because she never seemed to learn anything from them and continued to make the same mistakes. She is looking for this perfect girl and molding herself into being the perfect image of what she thinks she needs to be in order to win love.  It was just so awkward and didn't feel fully fleshed out to me. Similarly, I didn't fully get to connect with the other characters within the faux romance set up. Each of them felt very one dimensional and I wanted to get to know them more. 

The one thing that I really enjoyed in Love and Other Disasters was the representation. There was alot of diversity within the characters even if they didn't feel fully fleshed out. In particular, I enjoyed reading about Zozo's family. It was a three generation family who each represented different outlooks on life.  You could tell that this family had their struggles and their differences but they still supported and loved each other. Personally, I also really liked the way that the storyline with the grandmother was approached - from them realizing that she was getting forgetful to trying to help her and eventually realizing that she needed more even if she didn't fully agree. I think this spoke strongly to me because of my background in gerontology. I was more invested in this as the heart of the book instead of the romance. 

Love and Other Disasters is a cute story but, it did not hit all the romantic comedy marks for me. There were some truly good moments but unfortunately they were overtaken by the other awkward moments. It didn't feel like there was very much balance between these two dynamics. However, if you're a fan of mostly light YA romances that is also filled with strong family dynamics, this may be the perfect book for you.
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I loved reading this cute contemporary romance as the protagonist goes on a journey to become more than just "beige wallpaper", taking a summer adventure to San Francisco and (of course) finding love in the process!
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For me as an adult reader, I’d give this three stars. I thought the characters and premise were fun if a little silly. The entire thing is very charming. I think my middle school students would rate this higher; it’s the kind of YA that translates perfectly for a middle school audience.
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This book was super easy to get into and I loved the messy nature of teenage romance.  The focus on familial relationships is also incredible and seems to be an iconic hallmark of Misa Sugiura’s books. I loved reading this and can’t wait for more!!
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PRIDE REVIEW: Love and Other Natural Disasters by @misallaneous1 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (wlw• lesbian • asian mc)
This was a true delight to read. Not only was the protagonist relatable and funny, but she was so real. I, too, can be a hopeless romantic who makes careless mistakes. But Nozomi is able to fix hers. With a completely female led romantic comedy, I had a blast. Nozomi also deals with very real issues that many queer kids deal with in their own families. I absolutely fell in love with Nozomi and found myself continuing to root for her. Seriously, I loved this book.
This is a perfect summer romantic comedy. Highly HIGHLY recommend. And thanks again to @misallaneous1 for letting me read this early!! OUT JUNE EIGHTH
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Love & Other Natural Disasters is a great summer read about romance, family, and big changes. Trying to bounce back from being rejected and deemed unworthy, Nozomi goes with her brother to San Francisco for a summer internship and an opportunity to turn her social life around. Nozomi loves the vibrant city and soon finds herself in a meet cute with her gorgeous - and recently dumped - coworker, Willow. Together, the girls come up with a fake dating scheme to win back Willow's ex, but Nozomi is hoping that romcom magic will bring her and Willow together for real. However the path to love is never without complications and Nozomi is forced to reckon with the consequences of her actions and decide what she truly wants.

For me, the best part of this book wasn't the romance and the drama, but the intricate family interactions. Nozomi and her brother spend the summer living with her uncle and his husband while also going to visit their elderly grandmother who is having memory problems. When Nozomi plans to come out to her grandmother, her uncle cautions her against it, telling her that his mother had refused to attend his marriage and cut him out of her life for years. Meanwhile, back home, Nozomi's parents are going through a divorce and Nozomi blames her mother for the marriage's failure. All of this family drama, and the conversations surrounding it, dovetails nicely with the girl drama and issues that the other characters are going through. There's a lot that Nozomi has to confront and think about and it's really well done.

Tune in for queer and diverse characters, romcom hijinks, fake dating, complex family dynamics, and a wild San Francisco summer!
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I'm such a sucker for the fake dating trope and this book did such a killer job! The cast of characters were so sweet and all well written and I loved how Nozomi uses the fake dating idea as a way to get closer to Willow under the guise of it making Willow's ex, Arden jealous. I found the pacing to be spot on and flew through reading it. Although the book was a little predictable at times, I appreciated the way it discussed homophobia and racism.
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Nozomi is still reeling in bliss from the best kiss ever when she overhears her perceived paramour calling her as “boring as beige wallpaper.” Still recovering from embarrassment, she agrees to spend the summer interning at her uncle’s art museum in San Francisco. There she meets the beautiful Willow, who is equally devastated by a recent breakup. In an attempt to get closer to Willow and woo her, Nozomi offers to pretend to be her girlfriend to make her ex jealous. Will her plan work and lead Willow into her arms? Or is she setting herself up for yet another heartbreak?

I was very excited to read this book because I loved Sugiura’s This Time Will Be Different. Nozomi is endearing in the way that there are some people in the world who just don’t get it. She’s slow to understand why people find her irritating and she neglects to acknowledge the way people feel about her, good or bad. This made her character difficult to root for at first. Still, by the end she manages to wedge her way into your heart. What made this book special for me was the story line about her grandmother’s battle with dementia and her parent’s struggle through a messy divorce. These plot points felt real and well written. The support characters, mainly her family and one museum friend, were much more engaging. While it wasn’t always a hit for me, I think this book would be a good recommendation for both those looking for a queer or fake dating love story and those wanting to read about family. The ending left me wanting to know more, but I suppose that aligns with the theme that life has no certain endings. 

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperTeen for the advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Love and Other Natural Disasters follows Nozomi, a young woman who is traveling to her uncle's house for the summer where she will help out at the art museum he works at. While there she meets Willow, a girl Nozomi immediately becomes infatuated with but who is unfortunately still trying to get her ex back. Together they begin fake dating so Willow can try and get her ex back while Nozomi tried to get Willow to fall for her.

Unfortunately this book was just not for me. I personally was not able to connect with any of the characters which made my enjoyment levels of this book very low.

I found that this book was very teen-like. Most YA books are great for any age and all readers are able to enjoy the story, but the way the characters talked and acted felt over exaggerated and far too dramatic.

I did love all the representation of LGBTQ+ and racially diverse characters and I know others will appreciate it as well. I do think many people will find this book enjoyable and I could see it as a great beach read for the summer!
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I received this book for free for an honest review from netgalley #netgalley

LGBTQ writing at it's finest! I'm going to represent us thank you. I'm very beautiful written and the plot was outside.
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One of my favorite YA romcoms I've ready in a long time! This was utterly delightful. Nozomi is a Mess but you really can't help but love her and only want good things for her. Her relationship with her grandmother was almost painfully realistic, and I really appreciated how Sugiura approached it. This brought a much needed fresh perspective to teen romcoms.
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We all love a good disaster gay moment, and this book embodies the chaotic energy of a young lesbian in love to its fullest potential. Love & Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura lives up to its namesake and still manages to draw in its readers with its diverse representation, flawed-but-growing characters, and its keen understanding of the teenage thought process. 

This story follows Nozomi Nagai, who spends some time in San Francisco in order to reconnect with her father's side of the family and also work on an internship at a local art museum. With the complicated family politics surrounding her gay uncles and aging grandmother along with her own parents' recent divorce, Nozomi is longing for a sweet summer romance which ends up with her getting the happy ending of her dreams. The best part? Nozomi is certain she's found "The Girl." The problem? The girl of her dreams still has some feelings for her most recent ex. When her crush approaches her with the plan to win her ex back, Nozomi agrees with her own plans. Will Operation: Make Dream Girl Fall in Love with Her Fake Date Girlfriend be a success? Or will Nozomi realize that maybe her dream isn't what she thought after all? 

I appreciated that there was a lot of nuance in the story. Each character has their own issues and areas of improvement they are trying to work on, but the story never feels overly cluttered. Max, Nozomi's sister, is a great voice of reason in the story without making the character feel talked down to or nagged by a more adult role. Despite the fact that we are keeping up with a love square (Nozomi, Willow, Arden, and Dela), the plot progression is easy to follow and realistic. The flaws of all the characters are very clearly laid out which is appreciated as it means that the plot progression never feels forced or unrealistic. My favorite part of the romantic drama was that the situation had been orchestrated by Nozomi, and that it isn't painted as a good thing. Nozomi is just as flawed and complicated as the characters which are first presented as the "antagonists" of the story. In the end, Nozomi has the opportunity to fully learn that situations are complicated, and that her actions affect people as well as herself. 

The true romance scenes in the book are endearing, heart-warming, and have the honesty and awkwardness you'd expect from teenagers in love. My lips are sealed otherwise, but rest assured! This book is worth it as a summery beach read!
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I loved everything about Love and Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura! The main character Nozomi was lovable, stubborn, and delightfully dramatic. Her voice and personality really jumped off the page. The supporting cast was wonderful as well. I would recommend this to any lover of romcoms and sweet fake dating stories.
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This book was so interesting. I loved the storyline, but I was even more intrigued by the conversations being brought up in the book. You have the conversation about the church who has for so long used the line, "hate the sin, not the sinner," with little to no action behind it or follow through to the point where the line just comes off as hate or apathy (which is not much better). Then you have the conversation about what actually is love, if love is as straightforward as we think it is or if love is complicated, with a dislike for the actions that the individuals we love might take, but a sustained love for them anyway. Then there's the conversation about whether we choose partners based on who we want to be or based on who they are.  I think this book would make for a great book club book.
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