Review of Love and Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura
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 that 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-American rep than 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 the 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 my problem, as my book funny bone seems to be broken, but instead, I found it more cringy than funny. Think of a movie where the 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 spoil 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 were 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. 3.50 Stars.
An ARC was given to me for a review.