Love and Other Natural Disasters was a book that was easy to get into. From the beginning, I could tell that it was going to be set up as a romantic comedy. Unfortunately, there were times when the comedy felt more cringeworthy than romantic comedy. The main character would do or say something that was just so awkward and then I would feel embarrassed for her. This happened multiple times throughout the book which made it difficulty to fully like her as a character.
The character that I’m referring to is Zozo. She is a young Asian American woman who has been dreaming of her perfect woman and wanting to find her. Zozo and her brother Max take a trip to San Francisco to visit their grandmother and uncles and intern at an art museum. On the first day there, she encounters Willow and Jade – one of which she becomes immediately enthralled by – and the other whom she immediately takes a strong disliking to. She becomes involved in a faux-romance in order to make another girl jealous and it soon becomes apparent that things are not always like they seem on the surface. In fact, they can be much more complicated.
Like I said Zozo could be a cringe worthy character because she makes so many faux pas throughout Love and Other Natural Disasters. At first, it was cute because she was insecure and trying to figure out things. After a while though, it did get a little grating because she never seemed to learn anything from them and continued to make the same mistakes. She is looking for this perfect girl and molding herself into being the perfect image of what she thinks she needs to be in order to win love. It was just so awkward and didn’t feel fully fleshed out to me. Similarly, I didn’t fully get to connect with the other characters within the faux romance set up. Each of them felt very one dimensional and I wanted to get to know them more.
The one thing that I really enjoyed in Love and Other Disasters was the representation. There was alot of diversity within the characters even if they didn’t feel fully fleshed out. In particular, I enjoyed reading about Zozo’s family. It was a three generation family who each represented different outlooks on life. You could tell that this family had their struggles and their differences but they still supported and loved each other. Personally, I also really liked the way that the storyline with the grandmother was approached – from them realizing that she was getting forgetful to trying to help her and eventually realizing that she needed more even if she didn’t fully agree. I think this spoke strongly to me because of my background in gerontology. I was more invested in this as the heart of the book instead of the romance.
Love and Other Disasters is a cute story but, it did not hit all the romantic comedy marks for me. There were some truly good moments but unfortunately they were overtaken by the other awkward moments. It didn’t feel like there was very much balance between these two dynamics. However, if you’re a fan of mostly light YA romances that is also filled with strong family dynamics, this may be the perfect book for you.
Rating: 3 Stars
**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**