Title: Love & Other Disasters
Author: Anita Kelly
Publication date: January 18th, 2022
The first openly nonbinary contestant on America’s favorite cooking show falls for their clumsy competitor in this delicious romantic comedy debut “that is both fantastically fun and crack your heart wide open vulnerable.” (Rosie Danan, author of The Roommate)
Recently divorced and on the verge of bankruptcy, Dahlia Woodson is ready to reinvent herself on the popular reality competition show Chef’s Special. Too bad the first memorable move she makes is falling flat on her face, sending fish tacos flying—not quite the fresh start she was hoping for. Still, she’s focused on winning, until she meets someone she might want a future with more than she needs the prize money.
After announcing their pronouns on national television, London Parker has enough on their mind without worrying about the klutzy competitor stationed in front of them. They’re there to prove the trolls—including a fellow contestant and their dad—wrong, and falling in love was never part of the plan.
As London and Dahlia get closer, reality starts to fall away. Goodbye, guilt about divorce, anxiety about uncertain futures, and stress from transphobia. Hello, hilarious shenanigans on set, wedding crashing, and spontaneous dips into the Pacific. But as the finale draws near, Dahlia and London’s steamy relationship starts to feel the heat both in and outside the kitchen—and they must figure out if they have the right ingredients for a happily ever after.
I’ve come to love cooking/baking show books because the combination of tasty recipes, competition, and romance is so alluring. Dahlia is recovering from a divorce and trying to find her way in the world and decides to go on the cooking show so she can win enough money to pay her rent. London loves cooking and they want to use the money to start a charity – and they are going on the show openly nonbinary, much to their father’s dismay.
Dahlia and London are the perfect grump/sunshine trope in a diverse gender identity romance. The storyline is beautiful and is told in dual POV so you can get a glimpse into both worlds – and the crush they both have on the other is adorable even before they get together. I also respect the conversation around the nonbinary identity and the struggle those who identify that way have with family, friends, and society. London goes through a whole issue with their father, even though they have been out for years. Dahlia also goes through a tough time and the growth between the two is well done.
Highly recommend this romance, it reminded me a lot of The Charm Offensive – not the same setting but a similar romance style with identity and mental health/growth.
Thank you to Forever and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!