Title: Love and Other Man-Made Disasters
Author: Nicola Doherty
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Published: 2nd June 2016
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Juno is scared of a lot of things. Climate change, urban foxes, zombies – the usual. So when she goes on a skiing holiday with her mum’s adrenaline-mad new husband and his tearaway twins, she doesn’t hold much hope of surviving. Then she meets Boy. Gruff, hairy and thrill-seeking, he’s everything Juno doesn’t like. Or is he? Juno’s about to discover there’s nothing more scary than falling in love.
“These are just some of the things I’m afraid of.
- Climate change.
- World War Three.
- Terrorist attacks.
- Getting cancer and dying.
- Getting cancer and dying without ever falling in love. I’m pretty sure that if I get cancer, there won’t be a gorgeous guy with one leg in my support group.
- My hair getting caught in a bus or car door and strangling me.
- Being kidnapped and murdered by a serial killer and buried in someone’s back garden.
- Failing all my A levels. Or doing badly and it goes all wrong from there and I can’t even get a job and have to live at home for ever – wherever home is.
- Civilisation breaking down and me dying because I don’t know the right berries to eat.
- Zombies. Obviously they don’t exist, but still.
- Skiing and other dangerous sports.
- Urban foxes. They know how to get inside houses, and there was one on the news that mugged a man for his quiche.
- My parents getting divorced and Mum remarrying.
- Mum marrying a man who makes us go skiing with his twins.
So far only 13 and 14 have actually happened.”
(Ps. I know that was way more than the first line (actually it was the whole first chapter) but it was funny so yolo). Ps. if that excerpt doesn’t make you want to read this book then I don’t know what will.
General Thoughts (non-spoiler)
I really, REALLY wanted to love this book. I was so ready for a light, cute contemporary that would give me loads of feels. Unfortunately, this wasn’t that book. The storyline spans over a short period of time, making the romance seemed rushed and way too insta-lovey. Overall, this was a bit of a disappointment so I don’t think I’ll be reading any more novels by Nicola Doherty.
Review (contains spoilers)
As I’ve said, I was so ready for a book like this. I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy recently and was excited to read something light and fluffy. And this book did start off well!
At the beginning of this story I enjoyed it. I thought Juno was hilarious with all of her irrational fears and the fact that she was scared of skiing. A few years ago I went to Austria on a ski holiday as well, and I could never get the hang of parallel skiing so I could totally relate to her at this point. I even thought her twin step brothers, Josh and Henry, were funny, with their constant bickering about pointless things. Another thing I freaking loved was her ex-gay-boyfriend Jack whose moments throughout this book always made me laugh. The whole non-relationship with him and Starbucks Boy was so hilarious, especially since I have a friend just like him.
My real problems arose with this book when we met Boy. Yes, that is the male lead’s name. Boy. Anyway, I don’t feel like the author did a very good job of making him desirable in any way. Well, I didn’t feel like he was anything special or romantic or anything really… He was no Étienne St. Clair, that’s for sure. Maybe Boy would become more appealing to me if we got to spent more time with him, but the reality is: this book spanned over a two week period, in which, Juno was in love with him after about three days of spending time together. I understand that the book had a time constraint because Juno was on holiday but she hated Boy when she first met him and then after spending one night with him she was instantly in love – it all felt so fake and horrible forced.
Then the inevitable happens. On Juno’s last day, Boy breaks his leg skiing and because Juno doesn’t want to leave him, she manages to get a temporary job as a chalet assistant so that she can stay for another week without her family. I actually need to quote something at you right here, because the insta-love in this book was just so stupid:
“Looking at him, I think I understand why people don’t care about the environment or climate change or war in faraway countries. It’s because, when you love someone this much, it feels as through nothing else matters. Right now, I’d burn a million units of carbon if it meant Boy could walk out of here.”
This would be a lovely thing to say about someone you had been dating for say, I don’t know, months? BUT SHE’S ONLY KNOWN HIM FOR A WEEK! She literally knows nothing about him other that he’s moody, smokes and likes extreme sports. Because of how stupid this all felt to me, I didn’t find it cute at all. All I could think was that Juno was highly emotionally immature and had some serious attachment issues.
After Juno stayed behind to be with him, Boy begins being distant with her and it literally breaks her heart because he doesn’t want her around. Then he dumps her. Even though they were never dating to begin with. This is the point where I started getting a little bit more respect for Juno because she dusts herself off and decides that she doesn’t need Boy and she can be independent, spend time with the other chalet assistants – that sort of thing. But of course, Boy ends up giving her some half-ass apology on her last night before she goes home and she forgives him. Then they’re back in love, making plans to be together when they both get back to England.
In all honestly, I probably would have given this book 1/5 stars if it hadn’t been for the epilogue. At the beginning of this book, Juno is scared of everything, and by the end she has learned to not be so afraid. She’s learned to try new thinks and that there is actually a life after high school. She’s even decided to take a gap year and change her degree course to environmental law in order to help other people. Her character development is one of the major redeeming qualities of this book.
Another thing I really enjoyed about the epilogue is that Juno still keeps in contact with Tara, another chalet assistant, and that she has warmed to her step-father and step-brothers. They seem like a real family now and that was nice to observe after hearing about how she still felt like they were strangers to her at the beginning of the holiday. Apparently Boy and her are still together, which is whatever, but I’m just glad we didn’t actually see him in the epilogue because this was my favourite part of the book and I didn’t want him spoiling it.
So… Overall, I actually wouldn’t suggest you pick this one up. It may just be me but as I’ve already stated, I didn’t like this book much and thought the plot was weak and unoriginal. By all means though, if you still want to read a contemporary teen romance and the synopsis of this suits your fancy, then go ahead and read it.
“Overcoming my fears isn’t one magic moment that changes things for ever. It’s something I’ll have to do over and over, for the rest of my life.”
- Characters: ★★☆☆☆
- Plot: ★☆☆☆☆
- Ending: ★★★★☆
- Originality: ★★☆☆☆
- Cover: ★★★★☆
This book comes out on the 2nd of June, so keep an eye out for it and tell me what you think if you do read it. Thanks for reading guys! 🙂