Cover Image: Love & Other Natural Disasters

Love & Other Natural Disasters

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Member Reviews

3.5 stars, rounded up. I'm not a particular fan of the fake dating trope, but this book was really fun to read. The author really embraces the cliche through Nozomi's narration—she is a hopeless romantic and wants Willow, the girl she is fake dating, to fall in love with her. But Willow is still hung up on her ex, Arden, who is now dating Dela, who works at the same museum that Nozomi is interning at over the summer in San Francisco. The result is a sort of love square. Though the story felt a bit predictable at times, it was a fun and quick read. 
The writing style is definitely focused on Nozomi's internal monologuing. It sort of feels like she's your friend at a sleepover narrating the whole story to you. She's very sarcastic and overthinking, and sometimes a little bit all over the place. The narration does sometimes delve into some territory that is a bit too cringy for my taste. Along with that, there are some distracting pop culture references and times when characters use social media that feels completely unrealistic.
The main story was fun and engaging, but there were a couple sub plots (the issue of Nozomi's grandmother needing to go to an assisted living place, and the issue of her parents' divorce) that didn't seem to have much significance and ultimately just felt really fluffy. But if you don't mind fluff and just want something fun, then I would totally recommend this. And I'd recommend it for all the queer and Asian representation it has too.
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Nozomi will do anything for love, even it it means fake-dating a chic, gorgeous girl that she just met. Summer is for romance, after all, and a planned family visit to San Fransisco to see her gay uncles offers a fresh start.

Devastated by a break up, Nozomi offers Willow a shoulder to cry on in the hope that her life will turn into the perfect rom-com. When a fake-dating plot leaves her feeling rejected yet hopeful, Nozomi strikes up an unexpected friendship with Dela, an introverted art student that proves to be a rival.

What follows is anything but swoon-worthy as Nozomi navigates a messy fake-dating scenario that leaves her wanting more, constantly torn between being enough and obtaining the new girl of her dreams. In her desperate attempt to snag Willow’s attention, the duo go on a series of dates, each more elaborate than the last, but all a part of a one-up game to spark jealousy in Arden: a glorious photo op at the Fairmont, a bike tour through Golden Gate Park, milkshakes for two at the infamous Ice Cream Bar, not to mention the long-awaited, end of summer gala-exhibition at the Harrison Collection. After all, nothing can go wrong if you’re following the plot of a rom-com, where the fake date always becomes the love interest, right?

While romance takes the center-stage, Sugiura tackles other important issues, including complicated family dynamics, exacerbated by her parents’ failed marriage and resulting divorce, not to mention her paternal grandmother’s ailing mind and obvious homophobia, igniting self-doubt in Nozomi. In Baba, Sugiura tempers good and bad, past and present in Nozomi’s experiences, where nostalgia wars with anger in the wake of Nozomi’s truth. From her blatant refusal to acknowledge Lance and Stephen’s marriage to the idea that being gay is “just a fashion,” Baba represents the traditional worldview, one she insists cannot be changed. Heated commentary brings about pain, frustration and anger, wherein Sugiura toes a line between familial expectation and reality, Baba’s ailing mind and Nozomi’s memories – of playing janken on the steps outside the house, working together to make plum jam, and appreciating art – coalesce to create sympathy, urging the reader to understand Baba’s loyalty and unwavering resolve in regard to traditional Japanese gender roles, even if they may be harmful.

Though it all, Sugiura infuses Nozomi’s story with Japanese tradition and mythology, including a stunning take on Tanabata, the star festival celebrating Orhime and Hikoboshi in Dela’s breathtaking art installation, which also incorporates the art of origami in the Japanese legend of the thousand paper cranes. Destiny and dreams collide in the gorgeous reveal, encouraging Nozomi and Dela to reconcile – love, life, and everything in between.

Torn between the need to conform and the desire to be free, Nozomi grapples with nostalgia and anger in her homophobic grandmother, not to mention her parents' raw, messy divorce. By pairing Nozomi’s internal struggles with her attempts at romance, Sugiura offers a nuanced glimpse into the nature of love: romantic, familial, platonic.

Authentic and relatable, Love & Other Natural Disasters explores what it means to be yourself in a world destined to change you, all while normalizing messy relationships and teen love. While Nozomi's outgoing nature can be a bit hard to swallow for introverts, her compassion and positivity are contagious, resulting in a refreshingly queer YA written in an easy-going, confessional manner reminiscent of early 2000s rom-coms.
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This is the first book that I’ve read from Misa Sugiura and I can definitely say that it won’t be the last. I knew that I would fall in love with this story from the moment I laid eyes on the humorous title and the gorgeous book cover! I’m a huge sucker for fake dating schemes and this story took the fine art of fake dating to a whole new level with a few unforeseen circumstances thrown in for good measure. This author has done a fabulous job of bringing Nozomi, Max, Willow, Dela and Arden to life for me because I could easily understand what made them tick. By the way, I lost a lot of sleep because I got caught up in the endless family drama between Nozomi, her parents, her uncles and grandma. Plus, I also enjoyed learning about the Tanabata festival and Japanese mythology.
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Not really a fan of the way they book was written. I also found Nozomi to be a bit hard to want to root for. Although I did find the way the book touched on her grandmother interesting.
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I absolutely adored this book. I loved how fleshed out and real every character was. I loved all the characters so much, and this is absolutely one of my favorite contemporary books I've read. I especially appreciate how there was a buildup for Nozomi and Dela's relationship, instead of it just coming it of nowhere. I loved seeing Nozomi react realistically to the hardships in her life, her grandmother being homophobic, her parents. Every character felt extremely real even when they were taking drastic measures. This is an amazing contemporary novel and I loved it so much.
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I absolutely adored this book. I tore through it less than a day because I was so invested in the love....rectangle? Square? It had everything that I look for in a good coming-of-age romance: A charmingly awkward protagonist, an unstressful enemies to lovers arc, the classic fake dating trope, and fulfilling character development for Nozomi outside of the romance.

Speaking of the romance, it was so charming that I actually developed a bit of a crush on Dela, our prickly yet sensitive love interest. The pacing of her and Nozomi's relationship was absolutely perfect, by which I mean frustrating in the best way for the reader. The lighthearted sapphic romance genre is tragically barren, and I am so excited for this book to become a hallmark of that niche, because it is absolutely perfect.

Finally, I loved that the romantic plot was balanced out by Nozomi's family struggles. It felt like an incredibly authentic coming of age story as Nozomi came to terms with the fact that her family dynamics are a lot more complicated than she had ever realized, but that those complications don't necessarily cheapen the love. I loved that the resolution and message weren't perfectly clean cut, which made it feel so true to life. I have a feeling that I'll be coming back to this book time and time again for a pick me up.
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Being a 35 year old woman, I am not the target demographic by any means. But I did enjoy this book. The struggles of Zozo are ones that I can remember feeling myself. Also the POC representation in YA is always great to see.
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This book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021 and I really enjoyed it. I’ll admit, it wasn’t what I expected, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The overall story was fun to read and I really liked the rom-com elements. The whole less-than-accepting family member thing really hit me hard as well. Nozomi’s journey towards self-acceptance and the way the author addressed homophobia were my favorite parts. 

I definitely would have enjoyed the book more if I was more connected to the characters. Nozomi was very relatable but overly optimistic and I thought that Willow was very unlikeable (she had character development at the end but she annoyed me for the majority of the story). Also, why do so many sapphic novels have cheating themes? it’s was super small but it bothered me. it wasn’t necessary at all. why is it so common?
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Sweet and funny. This was a very good book. The characters felt real and relatable and I empathized with Nozomi a lot.
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I really enjoyed this book! I loved the characters and of course the fake dating trope is always amazing. I would definitely recommend this to someone who wants a fun and lighthearted read.
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This book feels like it's trying to be a rom com but doesn't quite manage it (which the author acknowledges in her author's note). It's got tropes and very funny moments but it's also full of deeper, darker, sadder moments. I think teens, particularly queer teen girls, will really enjoy the rom com-y moments and be sucked into the deeper, more complex story involving Nozomi's family. It felt fairly obvious from the start that a) Willow is terrible and b) Dela was the girl for Nozomi but that didn't take away from my enjoyment, I only wished they'd gotten together sooner and Nozomi had been able to learn some of the lessons earlier in the book.
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There is much to like about this book with its diverse cast of characters. It was a quick read, and would have appreciated more depth to some of the characters.
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What an absolute delight of a book. From page one I was interested in the characters and the relationships. Just a really heartwarming and comfy read. I read it in like less than a day.
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I truly enjoyed sighing and muttering my way through this pretend-dating, love quadrangle LGBTQIA YA romance mess. It's a movie waiting to happen! Option it already, Netflix!
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3 stars

Like most books that I pick up, I really wanted to like Love and Other Natural Disasters. I mean, who doesn't love a book with Asian-American characters (more specifically Japanese-American), sapphic relationships, and the fake-dating trope?

I liked this book, but my overall positive attitude towards Love and Other Natural Disasters was not the result of incredibly well-written and likeable characters or swoon-worthy romances. Instead, I liked this book due to how well the author addressed homophobia (especially in the elderly Asian community), the occasional struggles of love, and finding acceptance with your true self.

I think that I definitely would have enjoyed this book more if I was more connected to the characters. The only characters that I really liked in this book were Stephen (Nozomi's uncle), Max (Nozomi's brother), and Dela (starting at around the 50% mark). I found Nozomi, the protagonist, to be way too optimistic, day-dreamy, judgmental (and hypocritical near the end), and self-centered (kinda). I don't know. Nozomi just irked me. I was also not a big fan of both Willow and Arden because I felt that they were too obsessive and passive-aggressive for my taste.

The romance was another part that I did not love. I found myself cringing at some parts of the novel, and I honestly didn't really care about the endgames.
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This one is for fans of fake dating stories, and this is a fake dating story with a bit of a twist on that plot. The side stories with the family are also interesting throughout the book, and it all ties together. I found myself rooting for one couple early on and then had to wait a bit, but worth the wait. Cute wlw novel with plenty of emotion too. Will hand to fans of romance novels, particularly those wanting a wlw romance.
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While the writing is sharp, and the story classic- I felt some of the plot and conversation to be a bit obvious. The high points of the book shine through when we look at some of the underlying themes of LGBTQA+ acceptance, familial ties and racism. It almost seems like this read would of benefitted from not having a central romance at all. It was strong enough on its own regards to not merit a slow friends into lovers theme.
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I received an ARC through netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

At first I wasn’t sure what to make of the book, it had a lot happening at once but I really liked it. The main character Nozomi is a very optimistic 17 year old. She wants everything in her life to turn out just the way she plans it, like a romcom, she is adorable. 

This book really takes a look at the people who want their lives to be like a romcom but it does it in a way where you don’t feel as if you’re being attacked for being that way. In the book her brother Max is a voice of reason for her, telling her the things she might not want to hear but needs to. Nozomi really learns who she is and what she’s okay with and I love that. 

*spoilers* She learns that she doesn’t have to change herself to be with the person she wants and while that’s a cliche, I love it. In the beginning I wasn’t sure who she was going to end up with but i’m glad it was Dela. I always love a good rivals to lovers. *spoiler*

Nozomi is able to bring everyone in the situation around her love and I think that’s beautiful. I really hope that in the end they are able to make the long distance relationship work.
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This was sweet and engaging. I didn't like it as much as It's Not Like It's a Secret, but it was still good and I would recommend it to a YA audience.

I didn't really like Willow that much. She grew over the course of the book into a character I liked more. But it was hard at first for me to understand her. I enjoyed her family, and her brother. I appreciated her journey learning with her Baba.

(I love a fake dating trope, but this one didn't quite work for me. From the get-go, one person didn't want to be fake dating and somehow that didn't feel so trope-y to me.)
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Perfectly predictable, intensely adorable. A light and lovely romance that captures the reality of how race and queerness interact with your entire life. It's a breath of fresh air to see a queer story where the conflict in the relationship is not that it's a queer one, but that it's a romcom situation we've seen in hetero circles as well. 

Thanks for reminding the world that love is love, and being a silly teenager navigating romance (or even navigating a lack thereof- ace friends I see you) is a perfectly normal experience for all of us.

Points off because it was almost too predictable. I loved it though! Passing on to my High School librarians for their collection.
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