Review: Love and Other Man-Made Disasters by Nicola Doherty

9781510100374Title: Love and Other Man-Made Disasters

Author: Nicola Doherty

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Published: 2nd June 2016

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group

Pages: 240

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.

First Line: 

“These are just some of the things I’m afraid of.

  1. Climate change.
  2. World War Three.
  3. Terrorist attacks.
  4. Getting cancer and dying.
  5. 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.
  6. My hair getting caught in a bus or car door and strangling me.
  7. Being kidnapped and murdered by a serial killer and buried in someone’s back garden.
  8. 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.
  9. Civilisation breaking down and me dying because I don’t know the right berries to eat.
  10. Zombies. Obviously they don’t exist, but still.
  11. Skiing and other dangerous sports.
  12. Urban foxes. They know how to get inside houses, and there was one on the news that mugged a man for his quiche.
  13. My parents getting divorced and Mum remarrying.
  14. 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.


Favourite Quote

“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.”


Extra Ratings
  • 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! 🙂

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xcvbn

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14 thoughts on “Review: Love and Other Man-Made Disasters by Nicola Doherty

  1. I have to agree with you, the first lines make me want to read it, but also raise some expectations. I only read up to the spoiler paragraph, but I still feel I should give it a try. Most of the times I’m not very picky with books, that would be my bff 😂 thank you for the honest review; I’ll add this book to my TBR list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be honest Demi, there are so many other amazing cute contemporaries out there that I would actually give this one a miss if I were you :/ I was constantly getting frustrated while reading it and felt that some parts were just unbelievable stupid. By all means, still give it a go if you want to but it’s definitely not my cup of tea!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I liked your review–a lot! It was well written and showed such an astuteness (Is there such a word?) about readers and reading that I was impressed. I probably won’t read it and share it with my YA readers (I usually steer them towards The Book Thief, or the like, but few will take on such a “big book” ha.)
        Any really good YA novels you would suggest, I’d gladly look into; my students are either “big readers” or reluctant ones. Thanks.
        RAE

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well Rae, if you’re looking for YA contemporaries I’d suggest All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – it deals with issues like depression, family problems, death and mental illness as a whole. It’s a deeper read but I feel like teens may be able to relate to it. Also, this book is dual POV between a girl and a boy, so it’ll suit a diverse group of readers.

        For a lighter contemporary, I’d suggest pretty much anything by Rainbow Rowell because her character are so real and lifelike – just normal relatable people.

        If I had to suggest a book which I think would appeal to teen boys as much as girls, I’d definitely go with The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. This book is hilarious and contains lots of little illustrations throughout which could appeal to your students. This is a single POV book from the perspective of a teen boy, if that helps.

        If you really want to peak your student’s interest you could even try a fantasy or paranormal book? I’d suggest The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. It’s a vampire book but it’s not like Twilight or any of the others. It has a glamorous and almost reality TV aspect which will definitely grasp teenager’s attention because we quite like our celebrities.

        All of the books I’ve mentioned are standalone’s so you’ll be able to fly through them fairly quickly.

        I hope this helped, and thank you very much for commenting and asking my opinion 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Look what I just taught myself to do!! I didn’t know you could continue a conversation, Hon. Thanks for the suggestions for YA books in categories I might not otherwise read. As far as vampire books, I am finishing now Cronin’s “City Of Mirrors.” I’ve been “in” since the “Passage”. And, yes I read all its 800+ pages. (Ha!). The Twelve is a great place to start and the letters/reports at the beginning save you reading 800+ pages. I let my girlfriend in at that point, and we bought this advance copy. As soon as her son is off to study in Argentina for the summer next week, she’ll read it. SHE GOT A REPLY E-MAIL FROM CRONIN IN RESPONSE FAN E-MAIL SHE SENT HIM!!!! We feel like a couple of teenagers getting an autograph! HONESTLY, grown up college professors should be a bit more sedate! Ha ha

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’ve never heard of that book but wow, 800+ pages! It’s been so long since I’ve read a book at that length (they usually scare me away lol). It’s so exciting that she got a message back from the author! Don’t be daft, a little bit of fangirling is always a positive 🙂

        Like

      5. It’s possible that by the time I’ll be able to read it, I’ll have already lost interest in it.🙈😂 but as always I’ll keep an eye for future reviews from you😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for visiting me and liking my post. I came here to return the courtesy visit received, but got engrossed in reading you: glad out there are young adults alike yourself! Insta-love…. yuuk. We all fall in love sort of fast at some point in life, but generally speaking, not when we are young as the character of this book. It’s because further in life we know what we want and can see it kinda immediately in others. We accrued the teaching “burden” of rejection, maybe failure (never a failure when romance goes wrong, just a test to master what we should look for in it) and disappointment and know ourselves much better. Loved your review and glad you liked my post. I’ll keep passing by to read more of you.

    Best,

    Jade

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No bother, and thank you so much Jade 🙂 I agree with you about the insta-love too. I understand that people sometimes get strong emotions for each other within a few days/weeks of knowing one another but I generally don’t like reading about it in literature because then the book feels rushed and clumsily written :/

      Like

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