What an adorable, quirky little thing. There's no other way I can possibly describe this book. It reminds me of a fuzzy caramel Pomeranian that does something naughty, like grubby up your floors, but you still can't help but love and forgive it because of how adorable it is, and the good intentions it had.
I've come to love Kimberly's stories ever since she joined Figment. It always made my day when I found out she posted something new, no matter how short, on her page. When her first book "Pocket Forest" came out I was lucky enough to be able to buy a copy after some extras were made, since the original 40 print-run sold out at record breaking speed. I had to buy "Love Fortunes and other Disasters", there was no discussion about it. I was eager to find out what kind of world I would be taken to this time.
You will either love this book or not. I doubt there's a happy medium. And after reading many of the other reviews, especially with lower ratings, it's also important to point out that one shouldn't expect a serious, philosophical reflection on love. This book has the sole purpose of entertaining and moving the reader with its touching cast of characters and very sweet setting, which in my opinion it does spectacularly. It's also not a book for people who can't handle the classical, cheesy ooey-gooey romance, for it's the very foundation of the story. Otherwise you're setting yourself up for not liking a book you're already predisposed not to enjoy.
Fallon and Sebastian's relationship reminded me of something I was going through, and sort of still am going through, with someone, and this relatability drew me into the story right away. Some people complained Bastion smirked too much, but in his personality I saw a whole lot of myself. I found that if I took both Fallon and Bastion's personalities and put them together, I would create my own. I saw myself in Fallon, in her attentiveness to clothing, how she always made sure it was top-quality and not damaged. I saw myself in Bastion's smirks and the moments of sweetness followed by fear, hesitation, and coldness. Even some of my parents showed through in Mr and Mrs Dupree. I was difficult not to love these two when I felt such a strong affinity towards them. And unlike many other YA novels, the romance was not forced. It felt natural, watching Fallon and Sebastian fall for each other, and I loved how emotional they were with each other. Many people lately seem to stray away from the warm and somewhat sappy relationships, and it makes me feel sad. So to come across such a warm and natural relationship in a novel really made my day.
Another thing I was really impressed with was Nico and Martin's relationship. I won't say much in order not to spoil anything, but I think a round of applause should be given to the author for the way in which it was approach, and how any social conventions or prejudices that are still being felt today on the subject were dispelled. it was refreshing to read a book where all love was accepted and, whats ore, treated with the same attention and care.
In terms of other things, like the pace and setting which people complained about, I also didn't have any problems. I think people have gotten somewhat impatient with their reading, expecting a breakneck speed in the story that will always give them twists and turns. This book offers a very atmospheric read that should be absorbed and indulged in. It's not supposed to be a great mystery, which it seems some people expected as they said they thought the ending was a flop. I didn't try to predict ahead. The story was so commanding of my attention that I went along with it like on a boat ride, enjoying the view as I progressed.
Which leads me to, I think, the one slight flaw in the writing. I do wish the setting was a bit more developed, and that Anais got a little more attention the way Nico did. I can't really say what it was that lacked, but the setting needed just a little something more to take it from being the small but beautiful universe of Grimbaud and extending it further. Perhaps it's because other places weren't given much focus, even in the details that were used to describe the town where Bastion's grandmother lived. I also would've loved to know more about Anais and Bear's relationship, and see it grow the way Nico and Martin's got the chance to.
Other than that I really cannot complain. The book succeeded in charming and entertaining me, winning me over so that I was cheering for the main couple. There were some very clever lines throughout the text that elicited a perfectly timed chuckle, and enough small loopholes to keep a small air of mystery as to what was going on and how it would be resolved. To those considering this book - approach it with the intent of being entertained. Not everyone will be wowed, but the book offers so much that it's difficult not to enjoy at least one aspect of it. It's a book that's very honest with its writing, and with its good intentions, and this kind of pure honesty made it irresistible. I'm so glad to finally see Kimberly's work published and to add it to my large book collection in the hopes that some more of her work will make her way onto my shelf in the near future.