Review: Love & Other Natural Disasters

Title: Love & Other Natural Disasters
Author: Misa Sugiura
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 352
Review copy: ARC via publisher
Availability: On shelves now

Summary: 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.

My Review: This book has ingredients that definitely appeal to me. There’s a meet cute, fake dating, humor, romance, and plenty of reasons to smile. Nozomi is a romantic and is really hoping to remake herself into someone interesting and sophisticated. It’s definitely hard to watch her as she lies and make some poor life choices in her effort to win a gorgeous girl. This leads to moments that made me want to scream, “Don’t do it!!”

Nozomi has a humorous way of telling a story and truly is a delight. Not everything is silliness and romance though. Of course there is relationship drama, but there is also family drama. Nozomi has had a rosy way of seeing the world and starts to discover some hard truths about her loved ones. She and her brother seem to be antagonistic, but she seems to share a lot with him and he clearly cares for her even while he taunts her. He is often helping her deal with everything she’s learning about their parents who are driving Nozomi up the wall for a variety of reasons. Her grandmother is also aging and is reluctant to accept changes that may be necessary soon which leads to a lot of conflict.

Speaking of conflict, there is also a matter of how to navigate family relationships when a loved one cannot accept all aspects of a loved one’s identify. Nozomi is not exactly hiding the fact that she is attracted to girls, but she is also hesitant to let one of her family members know because the person may respond in a way that is so hurtful that they may not be able to stay in relationship. This is such a difficult situation and Nozomi has a terrible time deciding how to proceed.

The new people Nozomi comes into contact with outside her family are each very interesting and though she seems absolutely certain about what and who she wants, over time everything gets jumbled. Of course this leads to miscommunication and all kinds of confusion. Readers have plenty to keep them entertained and wanting to know what will happen next as Nozomi learns about herself and how complicated love can be. Love might sound sweet and dreamy, but she has not really thought through how one goes about loving someone and what love may require of a person.

Recommendation: Get it soon especially if a quick rom-com with a peek into San Francisco and an art museum sound like fun.


Interview with Miss Sugiura

Excerpt and audio clip