Love Fortunes and Other Disasters (2015)
By: Kimberly Karalius
Should we be blinded and not know our fate when it comes to love? Or should we know ahead of time in order to prevent heartbreak and loss? In Kimberly Karalius’ debut novel, Love Fortunes and Other Disasters, Karalius provides a possible answer to these questions.
The town called, Grimbaud, is filled with love. Everything is geared to lovers. The townspeople hold great respect towards the love charm maker, Zita, and her Love Charms Shop. Zita gives accurate love fortunes to people. In fact, Zita controls the fate of all the people in Grimbaud in regards to love, and has complete control and ownership of the town.
For generations, Fallon Dupree’s family attended high school in Grimbaud because Zita’s fortunes led her family members to their destined lovers. Fallon hopes that when she attends school in Grimbaud, Zita’s fortune to her would do the same. However, when she received her love fortune, it wasn’t pretty. She is cursed to never find love. In order to change her fate, Fallon joins a group of students, who are rebelling against Zita’s love fortunes, and hoping to end her tyrant ways in the town of Grimbaud.
Honestly, what attracted me to this book is the colorful cover, which I thought was cute and adorable. You can see a variety of characters from the book on the cover as well as an image of what the setting of Grimbaud is like.
Moreover, Karalius created a fantastical world of what Cupid’s town of romance and love would be like. Grimbaud is like a mixture of realism and magic. The lifestyle of the citizens is centered on love. There are Cupid statues all around the city, and a Tunnel of Love for couples. People go to cafes and do various activities with their significant other. At first glance, the world of Grimbaud seems like an adorable and romantic town because people are all focus on loving each other. In reality, if you think about it, a town—all about love, all the time—seems a bit crazy and uncomfortable. Yet despite this, Karalius’ setting should be praised because it is unique and brilliant (something that I’ve need seen before in a YA novel).
Another unique factor in this world is that charms are used in people’s daily lives. If charms actually exists in real life, they could help solve a person’s problems, but it would also cause some issues. For example, someone may have bad intentions and uses a charm to bring misfortune to someone. Aside from using charms, in the world of Grimbaud, people, such as Hijiri, have the power to make their own charms. This is something also really cool to think about: the possibility of creating your own real-life charms. If I was a charm maker, I would want to know how to make love charms. Regardless, whether it is a weather charm or a study charm, the existence of charms could be helpful or disastrous depending on the individual using them.
Lastly, I liked how Love is a personification. Rather than being only an emotion, Love is an actual being—like a god or goddess —who watches over people in love or is experiencing heartbreak.
Love Fortunes and Other Disasters dazzled and charmed me with the setting, Grimbaud. Although it may seem like a typical romantic fairy tale, the storyline is unique and has a magical way of enchanting readers.