You know that feeling when an author just completely captures your heart? That’s how I felt with Sugiura’s This Time Will Be Different. So when I saw Love and Other Natural Disasters AND that it was queer?! Well I was sold. Keep reading this book review to see my full thoughts.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
So if you’ve ever been convinced that you belonged with someone if only they’d see it then Love and Other Natural Disasters is for you. It’s about wishing your life was a romcom. About reading situations that, in a movie, would end happily, but in real life the chances are much worse. Because real life isn’t like a movie and sometimes things aren’t as neat. For Nozomi, she embarks on a scheme to land the perfect girl in a fake dating ruse. But does fake dating really work out in real life?
The strongest element for me was Nozomi and how relatable she felt to me. How that desire to see ourselves in a movie, to imagine how things could work out, that optimism? I loved that. There was a time in my life where I looked at love that way. Where I thought if I only stuck it out then it would turn into that happy ending. But there’s also an important element of reality. That hoping and loving just isn’t enough sometimes. And Love and Other Natural Disasters looks at just that.
When we get caught up in what could be, or what should be, we can miss what is around us. We can miss the happy endings in the coincidences of life. Not in the moments we plan camera angles or perfect proposal spots. And as a theme, I appreciated how Sugiura examines the idea that just loving someone isn’t enough. Related to the ways Sugiura examines that theme, is the complexity of family in Love and Other Natural Disasters. Not only in older brothers you love and hate, but also in homophobic relatives you aren’t sure how to love or how to be yourself around.
Love and Other Natural Disasters is a quick, entertaining, and hopeful read. Featuring moments our parents let us down, to an unwillingness to see what’s in front of us, it’s a story about the idea that love isn’t enough – it takes hard work, a willingness to change and say sorry, and commitment.
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