Cover Image: Love & Other Natural Disasters

Love & Other Natural Disasters

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Member Reviews

Sometimes books about teens are really hard to read. Teenagers do stupid things and make stupid decisions and don't think things through. I was one of those kids at times and sometimes it is *rough* to be reminded of that. Love and Other Natural Disasters was a sweet book. The characters were relatable, there were some real teen struggles and some that seemed a bit far-fetched, and there was great representation. It had some good commentary on relationships, love, power, control, and lying. My main hang up was that a bit of it seemed quite unrealistic and I had to legitimately stop reading a couple of times because I was cringing so hard. But sometimes that's the territory with YA! Overall, it was still something I would recommend.
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Love & Other Natural Disasters is a sweet and sincere look into how complicated it is to love someone the way they need to be loved. While Nozomi is looking forward to a romantic adventure when she spends the summer in San Francisco, an idyllic location, she ventures into the murky waters of a fake relationship and emerges with a whole new experience that teaches her a valuable lesson about love.

Right off the bat, if you are a fan of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before then you will adore Nozomi as she is Lara Jean’s tethered (in a good way). Nozomi is a romantic heroine, someone who loves the idea of love. She is the perfect character for a romantic comedy about the errors and missteps to finding the true meaning of love. And although at times you wish you can shake her to her senses, you can’t help but adore author Misa Sugiura’s creation. 

Nozomi is an awkward queer Japanese-American teen who is dealing with a lot. While grappling with the emotional fallout of her parent’s divorce, Nozomi has her heart hurt by a crush who cruelly dismisses her, and the prospect of a summer in San Francisco becomes her salvation. With a mission to reinvent herself, she finds herself in a complicated love quartet that involves her fake girlfriend, the gorgeous Willow, Willow’s ex, the super cool Arden, and Arden’s new girlfriend and Nozomi’s hostile new acquaintance, Dela. While crafting a story about the comical adventures of a love-sick teen, Sugiura also weaves in Nozomi’s complicated home life – that not only includes secrets regarding her parent’s divorce but her ailing grandmother who has complicated views on queerness.

What is so valuable about Sugiura’s novel is that it doesn’t provide any easy answers about what love is or how to love someone. It is a complicated matter which varies from person to person. Love is love and it can be super messy sometimes. Nozomi’s strained relationship with her parents and her fear of losing her grandmother if she were to find out about Nozomi being queer opens readers up to the difficult reality that those who are dearest to us may be the hardest to love. Forgiveness, compromise, distance, and pain all factor in, but ultimately, Nozomi must learn these things the hard way. 

Sugiura’s writing is airy and fun. Nozomi’s mind is that of a typical teen who believes they are the centre of a grand rom-com, but she is also flawed and relatable. Sugiura does a great job of never losing sight of Nozomi’s heart or the point of the story. There is a great balance of light-hearted fun and heartfelt revelations that have us laughing out loud one moment and fighting back tears the next. And by the time you reach the end, you will know that you have gone on a worthwhile adventure about love. 

Love & Other Natural Disasters is the perfect summer read if you are craving a feel-good and heartfelt story about loving yourself and opening your heart to everything that comes with loving someone.
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Thank you, NetGalley for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Happy release day to "Love and Other Natural Disasters"! This is a fake-dating lesbian romance full of diversity (specifically Asian representation) and heart. I can't recall the last time I read a book where the characters were in a fake relationship, but it's apparently a pretty popular trope that people enjoy. This book seemed very self aware of what it was doing with that trope, and did a fairly good job at subverting expectations.
The overall concept for the book sounded interesting and I love wlw romances, which is why I requested the book from NetGalley in the first place. I also appreciate the diversity in the characters and the fact that there were several Asian and mixed-race queer couples throughout the book is really great.
That being said, I think this book may have been overhyped for me. I've seen it recommended on TikTok several times and I've also read some amazing new adult queer romances lately, so I think I got my hopes up on this one. I'm totally not saying this book was bad, it just wasn't necessarily my cup of tea. I didn't care too much for the writing style, I was frequently annoyed with the main character, Nozomi, and I'm not a huge fan of the fake-dating trope in the first place. But don't let my negativity stop you from picking up this book! I do think this is a pretty good YA book for teens, especially young lesbians and wlw, and I still recommend giving it a read!

Happy Pride Month!

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4035131683
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Charlotte’s Review
Love and Other Natural Disasters is the romcom of your dreams, trust me on this. It combines fake dating to make an ex jealous, a prickly love interest, and nuanced conversations on coming out. It is, in short, pretty much perfect.

In a book where I loved basically everything, let me first start with how much I loved the main character. Nozomi is a romantic at heart, a little bit clumsy, and almost chaotically positive. She is, in all honesty, a bit of a mess (as her brother keeps reminding her. Accurate sibling relationship right there). And she’s an eminently sympathetic character. I know a few reviews have called her selfish, or whatever, but she’s a teen! What a surprise! And actually, she isn’t, not compared to some I’ve read.

But I didn’t actually mean to get into complaining about people misreading her. I wanted to talk about loving her. I find that, in YA contemporary above almost all else, the main character has to be what makes the book. They tend to be quite character-driven over plot-driven, so you have to at least like the main character to actually like the book. And here, Nozomi is the perfect character for that. You’re rooting for her, chaotic and clumsy as she is, and as messy as she can be. She makes mistakes, and she grows from them. She’s pretty much all you want in a YA protagonist.

And then there’s the whole fake dating plot. Fake dating, above all other tropes, feels like it produces the classic romcom effect for me, and that’s doubly so here because of how convoluted that trope gets (in a good way!). Nozomi fake dates Willow because Willow wants to get back together with her ex, and it goes from there. There’s more chaos and hijinks that I won’t mention because of spoilers, but it’s a romcom that’s just a whole lot of fun to read.

On top of that, though, it does delve into more serious topics along the way — grief, divorce, and coming out. Of those, perhaps the discussion around coming out was my favourite. There’s a lot more nuance to coming out than a YA contemporary has (in the past, at least) suggested, particularly when it comes to stories outside the usual cis and white narrative. So, I loved that here.

All of which means, if you haven’t already picked this book up, make sure it’s the next one you do!


Anna’s Review
We always shout about how we want a fake-dating book, but actually the only one that will ever matter from now on is Love & Other Natural Disasters. Not only because it understands the trope, but importantly: turns it on its head.

For the fake-dating trope to work you need two characters who are already into one another but assume it’s only unrequited feelings, so that the pining can make your heart hurt. But here, it becomes meta in a way. First of all, Nozomi is very aware that Willow doesn’t have a crush on her, but unlike a character in your favourite fic, she actively tries to change that. She treats her life like a rom-com which she is a script writer and director of, and she doesn’t stop until she will get the happy ever after that she envisioned. 

But Love & Other Natural Disasters is more than just a bunch of movie-perfect dates, every single one not ending the way anyone would have expected (least of all the girls on them). It spends a lot of time talking about coming out. About how it’s not a single event, but something you have to do over and over again. About how sometimes it’s hard to come out because you have to consider if you’re safe enough in any given situation to actually be true to yourself. About how sometimes you hide parts of yourself from a family member you love because you don’t want them to stop loving you. 

A lot of focus is also on familial relationships. Mainly on how complicated they tend to be. Sugiura is clear on the fact that there’s ever a black-and-white kind of situation when it comes to family; that most of the time you can be hurt but still care for someone, you can feel you’re in the right only because someone spared you the details to avoid hurting you more. It’s visible in the way Nozomi treats her mother, her father, her grandmother, in the way Nozomi’s uncle treats her grandmother, in the way Nozomi’s brother treats their mother. There’s always more than one side to look at things from, but it’s never an attempt to get you to forgive someone who hurts solely because they’re your family.

Speaking of family, Nozomi and Max are probably the best siblings in all of young adult literature. I know I’m right.

Love & Other Natural Disasters is a very smart book about second chances; learning to love people the right way that they need & deserve; recognising your own mistakes and prejudices. And it touches on all of that while masquerading as a cute and silly rom-com.
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Nozomi Nagai is getting the chance to spend the summer in California.  She's looking forward to spending time with her family, have fun in the sun, and experience a grand romance.  Things are off to a good start in the romance department when she meets Willow, the perfect girl.  Too bad Willow isn't over her ex.  In order to make said ex jealous Willow recruits Nozomi to act as her fake girlfriend.  Nozomi agrees because she believes in the rom com trope of the heroine falling in love with the fake girlfriend in the end.  Unfortunately life is not a movie.

I really liked the premise of this book, but it didn't live up to my expectations.  Nozomi is not a likeable main character.  She's snotty, bratty, and doesn't treat people very well.  She's mean to her parents, uncles, sibling, and all the other female characters in this story.  It was hard to root for her...especially since I liked Dela (the other love interest).  Dela definitely could have done better.  This book also had too many subplots (Nozomi's parents' divorce...the issues with Nozmi's Baba).  Besides weighing down the story none of those plots were resolved.  I think what I liked least of all is that Nozomi never really learned from her mistakes and continued to act selfishly throughout the entire book.  I'd give this one a miss.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Children's Books for this ARC.
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3.50 Stars. This was a cute, YA romance. I’m not the biggest fan of rom-coms, but one of my reading goals for 2021 was to be more open-minded and consume more of them. The reason I picked this one is because I love YA and the main romance trope of this book is a ‘fauxmance’, which is my favorite romance trope. This did end up being a bit of a rockier read than I wanted, but it was a cute read and I appreciated the unusual spin on a fauxmance.

I like the way that Sugiura writes and I found the book easy to get into. I was really happy about the rep in this book. I have actually read more books in the first half of 2021, with Asian and Asian-America rep, then I have for probably the last 3 years combined. There still is a long way to go obviously, but it’s really nice to actually see a noticeable difference in the books currently being published. Anyway, for me the best parts of this book were Zozo’s family. The different family dynamics, of three generations, ended up really being the heart of the story.

While I really enjoyed Zozo’s family, and how their stories were woven in, I had trouble with the three more main characters including Zozo. While Zozo had some real quality character moments, I never felt like I completely connected with her. That was also the problem with the other two mains. All three were just a little too on the surface and not as deep as I wanted them. I don’t feel like I really knew anything about Willow except that she likes makeup. Where Dela, who had some good potential as a baby ice-queen in training, all I really knew about her is that she’s an artist and had a recent trauma. I get that this was supposed to be a cute and funny book, but there were some more serious moments and I think I needed the characters to have more depth to go along with them.

While this was a rom-com, I didn’t really find it to be funny. This could be a me problem, as my book funny bone seems to be broken, but instead I found it more cringey than funny. Think of a movie where a main character does something so embarrassing that you almost can’t watch, well that is what kept happening over and over here. I’m not really a fan of that feeling when I’m made to cringe, so it was a little hard to always like Zozo.

I don’t want to go into the romance much since I think it would be too easy to spoiler the bit of a twist that was clever that Sugiura did on a fauxmance. I will say that I thought the romance was about average. It was cute and had some really sweet moments that I enjoyed, but I also thought it lacked some depth and I would have preferred even more time with the characters together.

All in all I have some mixed feelings about this. It is definitely a cute story, and an above average rom-com, but it didn’t quite hit all the marks that I was looking for. There was some good here that I really enjoyed, but there was a few bumps too. If you are looking for a lighter, YA rom-com, that does family dynamics well, then this book may be for you.
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A new city, a new Nozomi, or so she hoped. As a lover of love, Nozomi yearned to find her "someone", and she thought she did with Willow. However, Willow's heart still belonged to her ex, and she wanted to win her back. Nozomi agreed to this fauxmance, but she had plans to turn it into something real. 


Sugiura won me as a fan with her previous book, This Time Will Be Different, and though this book had a much different tone, she still managed to leave me with many things to reflect on. Love & Other Natural Disasters was a rom-com with lots of heart and plenty of depth. There were laughs aplenty, but they were intertwined with these beautiful, tender, and sensitive moments. 


In the author's note, Sugiura talks about how she wanted to explore love, and she really did a great job doing so. Many of the relationships in this book were complicated. They were messy and imperfect, and they contradicted Nozomi's understanding of love. Her parents' divorce was a big pain point for Nozomi. She had certain ideas about their marriage, and she was really thrown after learning the truth of what led up to the divorce. She also grappled with her love for her grandmother. She loved her, because she was her grandparent, but because her grandmother had certain views on homosexuality, Nozomi knew her grandmother could never love all of her. It was an interesting aspect of love to explore. The idea that there can still be love, but we have to decide if we can accept what the other person is willing to give. It was very thought provoking and well explored. 


I enjoyed all that deep stuff, but I came her for the Nozomi and the fauxmance. Nozomi was such a great character. She was an underdog from the start, so I had no problem cheering for her. At one point her brother compared her to Anne Shirley, and I was like "YES", I could totally see it. Nozomi was a hopeless romantic, who wore her heart on her sleeve. She worshipped at the alter of the rom-com too. It was great seeing her get that kiss, but I also loved seeing her gain a new perspective on things. She grew quite a bit, and I was over the moon with the path Sugiura put her on. 


Overall, I had a wonderful time with Nozomi as she navigated her first fauxmance AND her first romance. The book was packed with lots of classic laugh out loud rom-com moments, but also many deep and meaningful moments that had me feeling the feels.
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This book was pretty fun overall! 

This is my second book by Misa Sugiura after It's Not Like It's A Secret, which honestly was a disappointment to me- I didn't love it. But I'm a sucker for fake dating stories- they're popular for a reason and that's because they're so fun! So I was excited to read this. 

And I liked it overall! This book follows Nozomi "Zozo" Nagai as she spends her summer in San Francisco. Zozo often has her head in the clouds and loves to daydream about love and relationships. When she gets to San Fran, she instantly falls for Willow. Willow is going through a breakup though with her ex girlfriend Arden, and Arden is dating someone who works with both Zozo and Willow, the quiet Dela. Zozo proposes to Willow that they can pretend to date so Willow can make Arden jealous and want her back, while Zozo has ulterior motives- to convince Willow to start liking her. 

I really appreciated this inversion of the fake dating scheme. Usually it seems in many books of this trope, it is the main character who proposes a fake relationship in order to get someone back- but here the fake relationship is proposed as a way to get closer to the person. And I thought that was a nice twist on the situation that made this a fun read. 

The characters were all really great. Zozo is so very cute. She has a lot to deal with and doesn't always handle things with the most grace, but her heart is always in the right place. And I love her optimism! It spread through the book and made me really happy. I really loved her pining for Willow and then later when she couldn't figure out her feelings towards many things, I really felt the emotions. That was a really strong part of the book. 

This book had a lovely cast of characters too. Nozomi and her brother Max are staying with her uncle and his husband. I really loved the family ties between all of them. They aren't perfect but all do really have love for each other. And her dad and mom are well rounded, imperfect, and very interesting characters in their own right. The family dynamics make this book shine.

I actually really appreciated the relationship explored between Zozo's Uncle Stephen and her Grandmother "Baba". Stephen is gay and married to a man, and her Baba is homophobic, didn't approve of Stephen's marriage, and mad many years of no contact with her son because of it. And while they are cordial now, it's often tense- yet there is still love shared. To peek behind the curtain for this review, I've had to cut out several members of my family. I haven't spoken to them in years. But literally in the last couple weeks I've found they might want to get back in touch. I don't really know what will happen for me- but seeing a dynamic like this in the book spoke to me heavily and I felt like it was depicted for all it's complexity very well. 

Unfortunately there were parts of the book that threw me off. I had trouble with the pacing in a lot of this book. This was a big criticism of It's Not Like It's a Secret as well if I remember correctly. I often felt like I had no idea how much time was passing between events in this book, or where we were at timeline wise. There were jumps in weeks, but I didn't know how long- and it just threw me off and was a little confusing. 

The love interests and relationships all seemed on the shallow end for me. I wanted to learn so much more about both Willow and Dela. But other than some surface level interests for either, we just don't learn that much other than Nozomi's feelings for them. And her feelings were fun and delightfully angsty, by the end of the book it all seemed kinda shallow. 
Also a lot of the storylines didn't really conclude. I want to know what finally happened with Baba, and there was little closure with Nozomi's relationships with her parents. Those were disappointing. 

I really liked a lot of this book, but parts of it really threw me off as well. 3.5/5
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I may be biased since I've read and enjoyed both of Misa Sugiura's past books, but this one exceeded my expectations. Nozomi is a dreamer with a starry-eyed innocence and optimism that I wish I could have had as a teen. She gets to be realistically flawed and messy, and this book was a running embodiment of the main character going "What's the worst that could happen" while the omniscient narrator goes "You have no idea what you're in for." All of the four girls who comprise the main love square are queer girls of color, which is super refreshing in creating space for diverse depictions of queer teens of color beyond the single story or the token model minority. Even as their respective backgrounds inform their characters, the book is not primarily about struggling with identity (aside from a subplot involving Nozomi and her grandmother). Instead, it's a story about love in various forms. The story was surprisingly touching in many places because of the relationships within Nozomi's family with her older brother, her uncle Stephen and his husband Lance, her parents who have just separated, and her grandmother (referred to as "Baba"). The story balances the family drama with Nozomi's fake dating shenanigans well, and I think the secondary storylines enriched the narrative.
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Synopsis: Nozomi takes a trip to San Francisco to visit her uncles and grandma for the summer. There, she meets Willow, who has just broken up with her girlfriend, Arden, and wants to get back with her. She enlists Nozomi to fake date her in order to make Arden jealous, however, Nozomi has plans of her own, to make Willow fall for her instead. Things don’t go exactly as planned and their paths take a turn.

I liked how this book tackled dealing with homophobia, especially from a family member as well as how Nozomi dealt with self-love and self-acceptance. You can truly see how Nozomi deals with her self-perceived image and grows from just telling herself that she doesn’t care about what other think of her to actually not caring.

I didn’t really thoroughly enjoy reading this particularly due to the way I found the main character, Nozomi, was quite unlikable. She was a bit too hopeful and many of her actions gave me second-hand embarrassment. The dialogue was a bit cringy as well, especially the things Willow said. 

The romance was a bit odd since there was no real tension between the characters. Overall, the romance was not very swoon-worthy.
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Nozomi meets the girl of her dreams, but Willow has just gone through a bad breakup. They agree to fake date, to make her ex jealous. Nozomi hopes Willow will realize they belong together, and get over her feelings for her ex. Will Nozomi's dreams come true, or will her lies catch up with her?

This entertaining love quadrangle engrossed me from the beginning. I enjoyed Nozomi's optimism and  determination. Despite the light tone of the novel, she's struggling with some deeply emotional experiences. Ultimately, this is a book about learning to be true to yourself, and I loved seeing Nozomi's transformation. 

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.
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I really enjoyed this one! The representation alone is a phenomenal reason so read this book! This is absolutely adorable but also so realistic it actually hurts in some places. Yes the main character is bit to much of unrealistic romantic for me but I also know a lot of people who are like that so while it's not something I can relate to I know many other will. This was just fantastic and adorable and my tiny lesbian heart is so happy.
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3.5/5 stars 

So we have Nozomi, who is craving a love story. She wants to fall in love. One day, she meets Willow, who recently got dumped by her girlfriend. Willow convinces Nozomi to fake date her in order to get her ex back. But, Nozomi plans to make Willow fall in love with her. 

I was extremely excited to read this book, but it just fell short. Willow was not a like-able character at all. She annoyed me and made me want to put the book down multiple times. Her ex, Arden, wasn't much better. Nozomi constantly has to go out of her comfort zone to do things that Willow wants to do. The whole book is Nozomi and Willow following Arden and her new girlfriend, Dela.  It wasn't fun to read. Frankly, I had to put the book down and take a break because it was getting to be too much at times. 

The only redeeming quality of this novel is my favorite character, Dela. She is the star, if you want to read this book, read it for Dela. I absolutely adore her personality and her interactions with everyone in the book. Dela had more chemistry with Nozomi in one page than Willow and Nozomi had in the whole book. Also, Nozomi's brother, Max, was also an amazing character. He brought reality back to Nozomi and helped her realize that things aren't as perfect as she wants them to be. I think that was an important lesson for Nozomi, and it helped her grow as a character. 

The reason that the book is still a pretty high rating is because of the ending. I think the ending was perfect for this book. It wasn't too easy (if that makes sense). The characters all got what they essentially wanted and the book wrapped up extremely well. The ending made absolute sense. 

Overall, this book was fine. I would recommend to anyone who wants a fake-dating YA sapphic rom-com. I think that a lot of other people would thoroughly enjoy this book.
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3 stars 

I love the way Sugiura explores LGBTQ+ rep in YA novels, and this one has solid and consistently positive rep of teens and adults alike. 

Nozomi, the m.c., is off to San Francisco for the summer with her brother, where the two will live with their uncle and his partner, explore what's up with their aging and homophobic grandmother, and try to figure out when Nozomi's _She's All That_ makeover will run its full course. 

When Nozomi comes on the scene, she is SO naive and nerdy. While these are qualities I often find endearing in a YA rom-com character, they are a lot with her. It becomes apparent quickly that the struggles she's having with her mother in some ways relate to wrongs she is committing against others, and it is frustrating to watch her s-l-o-w realization of some of the content that seems glaringly obvious to both readers and other characters. 

I did find this to be an entertaining read that is enhanced by its references to San Franciscan food and culture, but overall, it felt a bit too predictable. More character growth and plot development would go a long way here for me. 

Thanks for the positive rep, Sugiura. I'll keep coming back for that!
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LOVE & OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS is hilarious, poignant, and proof that love is both limitless and full of limitations. Sugiura vividly paints a summer full of teenage shenanigans and hard lessons learned in this meta sapphic fake-dating rom-com, perfect for lovers of tropes and looking for a perfect summer read.
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i really really liked this book. it was a cute fluffy sapphic contemporary romance. it was diverse as it should and focused around lgbtq+ people, but not in like a ‘coming out’ way. it was just a sapphic romance. i really recommend it.
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This was a hard one for me. It was overall a mostly enjoyable read but I had a hard time connecting with Nozomi. I felt like she was immature and annoying for a good portion of the book, even with how things shook out at the end.
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You know how I love a good fauxmance and I appreciated that this book had its own unique spin on it and was very self aware of its tropes. 

Nozomi goes to San Francisco for the summer to spend time with family (in particular her grandma whose health is severely declining and in the middle of progressing stages of dementia) and falls head over heels for the beautiful Willow. Learning that Willow has just broken up with someone who is now dating someone new, Nozomi offers to fake date Willow to make the ex jealous... in the hopes that this will be like every other fake romance story and Willow will eventually fall in love with her.

I applaud the Sapphic Asian American representation and also showing familial/cultural homophobia. 

My main issue was with the main character, who I really couldn't relate to and often found obnoxious (I've never thought of myself as a particularly cynical person, but she made me feel like one... if you are hopeful/upbeat/blindly romantic then maybe you'll understand her more than I could). Otherwise though, this book had some great side characters (I particularly like Nozomi's brother, who is 100% on her side but is also a realist) and tactfully dealt with some surprisingly heavy and difficult topics.

I enjoyed the twists in this one and that the romance in the story was rather rough around the edges, not some picturesque thing from a Hallmark movie. I'm glad I read this one.

Thank you HarperTeen and NetGalley for the ARC!
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4/5 stars 

Thanks for providing this precious arc in regards to the publisher and author!

I looooooove the romances in this!!
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This was great, a YA book that felt like the character were real, living teens. I appreciate the author got feedback from actual teenagers. I did feel Nozomi was a little childish for a 17 year old (which could just be her character), but overall it was very authentic.

I had some problems with the descriptions of San Francisco because I'm nitpicky. Things that just didn't make sense, both logically and because some things places don't exist anymore, not after corona. Nothing was egregious enough to detract from the actual story. 

I wish more time was spent showing us Nozomi's relationship with the girl she ends up with, it didn't seem that well supported by the few interactions they had. 

Ooh, one thing that struck me was this was a very...wealthy story. Most of the characters are rather affluent, which I personally can't relate too and am also not very interested in reading about just in general. That was mostly downplayed though, so much that I almost completely forgot about it.
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