Cover Image: Love & Other Natural Disasters

Love & Other Natural Disasters

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This book was kind of all over the place with the main character making some really awful decisions

But then I had to remind myself that they are literally teenagers and I also made a lot of really dumb decisions as a teenager

Overall, not bad but not amazing.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me an advanced copy of this book to read and review.

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Maybe I would have liked this better when I was a teenager, but I still feel like I would have been annoyed the entire time because these characters are not that likeable. To be honest... I liked the brother better than all of the main 4 girls, probably because he felt slightly more fleshed out in personality. While I appreciate a fake dating trope, this was just a bit too cringey for me. HOWEVER, once again, I am an adult reading a YA novel that feels targeted more towards the 15-17 year old crowd, so take my review with a grain of salt. I always appreciate LGBTQ representation, especially in books targeted towards the younger crowd, so I still encourage readers to pick this one up if they like romance geared towards the middle teenage years.

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Love and Other Natural Disasters is a fake dating romantic comedy featuring a Japanese-American lesbian main character, Nozomi, who comes up with a “brilliant” plan to fake date a girl, all the while hoping that it will make said girl actually fall in love with her. As is the way with romantic comedies literally nothing goes to plan, and there are heartfelt and laugh out loud moments in spades.

As soon as Nozomi meets Willow, she’s a little bit obsessed with her. Willow is everything that Nozomi wants to be: pretty, popular, and confident. So while Nozomi does have a crush on Willow there’s also a huge part of that crush that’s centred in the “do I want to date them or be them” realm, and it takes a while for Nozomi to figure this out. I liked this inclusion because I think a lot of crushes are like this and yet I haven’t seen this side of them explored before!

Even though a lot of Love and Other Natural Disasters is centred around Nozomi’s plan to make Willow fall in love with her there are a few serious elements included in the story. One of which centres around Nozomi’s grandmother, who is homophobic. For a long time she didn’t speak to her son, Nozomi’s uncle, because he was gay but has now decided she’ll talk to him but not accept him. This confuses Nozomi as she thinks that her uncle is settling for less than he deserves, and it also makes her wonder about coming out to her grandma. To make things more complicated, Nozomi’s grandma has dementia which is accelerating quickly. This makes Nozomi wonder if it would be worth coming out to her if she is only going to forget anyway.

This part of the book is something I feel is incredibly important. For a while Nozomi feels like she isn’t being true to herself by not coming out to her grandma, that she is forcing herself back in the closet. But she also weighs up the options of coming out and losing her current relationship with grandma, or spending what little time they have left being the way they have always been. I’ve never seen this in a book before and yet it would be something that happens often – maybe not the dementia aspect but the internal conflict about coming out vs preservation of relationships. This decision isn’t easy, and Love and Other Natural Disasters in no way presents it that way. It is something no person should ever have to go through but unfortunately do. I’m glad that teens facing this same decision will see both sides reflected and validated in Love and Other Natural Disasters.

On another note, I wish there had been more page time of Nozomi in her final relationship! I wanted more of that cuteness, and it would have made my heart happy to see the two of them being happy. But even so, I really liked the endgame relationship in Love and Other Natural Disasters, and feel like everything worked out the way it was supposed to for all the girls involved.

All in all, Love and Other Natural Disasters is the perfect romantic comedy to read over the summer! It has all the ingredients of your fave rom-com movies, but so much better because it features a cast of queer girls of colour!!

© 2021, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

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Although not likely to be adopted for curriculum in a school, I would definitely recommend this read to students who are in high school. A sapphic story with Asian representation made for a book with wonderful representation. Following the Fake Dating trope but with a unique spin kept me entertained. I don’t think that it would be considered a “rom com” because I didn’t find it humorous, I think i others will definitely enjoy this read.

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This story is certainly a natural disaster, in the best way.⁠ LOVE & OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS follows Nozomi as she navigates a summer interning with her uncle at a museum in San Francisco. There, she immediately falls for Willow who is going through a rough breakup and suggests they fake a relationship to make her ex jealous, and who wouldn't be up for a fake relationship with a pretty girl they just met? So now she's caught up in dating drama while also navigating family drama and figuring out what love really is in all its forms. It's a summer full of romance, heartbreak and figuring out how to actually Communicate.

Reading the shenanigans Nozomi got into with all these girls she had just met was like watching a train wreck. I was so frustrated with how she couldn't she Willow was just using her but oh my gosh I couldn't look away. Plus it just felt so real. I remember being 17 and being just as naive to everything. Luckily Nozomi had her family around her, and while all this girl drama's going on, she also had family problems to take care of. Underneath it all, LOVE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS is such a sweet coming of age story about tough love in all its forms and learning to recognize what's the healthiest option for you and how best to take care of yourself and the ones you love 💖

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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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