Love and Other Moods

Fiction - Cultural
326 Pages
Reviewed on 12/23/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Love and Other Moods is a contemporary romance novel by author Crystal Z. Lee. It follows a young woman named Naomi and her circle of friends as they navigate through life in the city of Shanghai. Told through multiple POVs complemented by a non-linear narrative, the novel opens with Naomi reeling from the after-effects of her break up with her fiance. After a string of bad relationships, Naomi finds a kindred soul in Dante Quyang -- a Chinese architect who grew up in England. However, Dante's parents distrust the Japanese due to her family's history of suffering during the events of Nanjing. Hence, Naomi's Japanese heritage complicates matters. Additionally, Dante and her long-distance communication further add strain to the relationship.

Just like movies such as New York, I Love You or Paris, Je T'aime, Love and Other Moods feels like an ode to the city of Shanghai. Author Crystal Z. Lee perfectly encapsulates the essence of Shanghai and, to a lesser extent, China itself as the narrative showcases both of its feet planted firmly in the future while simultaneously reminiscing its past. There is almost a bittersweet element to the story as Crystal Z. Lee masterfully captures the hyperactive and extreme nature of a cosmopolitan city like Shanghai, along with its capacity to generate melancholy and loneliness. As someone who lives in a busy city, I found Naomi and her friends extremely relatable. I would highly recommend Love and Other Moods to readers who enjoy contemporary novels as I thoroughly enjoyed it myself.

K.C. Finn

Love and Other Moods is a work of fiction in the cultural and social issues and interpersonal drama sub-genres and was penned by author Crystal Z. Lee. Written for mature reading audiences owing to mild use of explicit language, sexual references and some reference to abuse and violence, this refreshing and vivid coming of age story has much to offer in terms of inspiration, emotion, and a sense of belonging. Protagonist Naomi Kita-Fan finds herself stranded in a new life in Shanghai when her relationship breaks down, but this disaster leads her into a complex web of interconnected dramas with other lost souls, all of whom are searching for somewhere to call home.

Author Crystal Z. Lee has crafted an exquisitely penned novel that sets a lively and heartfelt tone from cover to cover as we discover one of the most bustling cities of the Eastern hemisphere. One of the immediate striking features of the work, and a theme that continues throughout, is the commitment to character diversity, accuracy, and representation. I found every player in this intriguing drama to be highly relatable, beautifully flawed, and with unique voices and viewpoints that make you feel as though you are getting to know real people. Learning ‘to adult’ was a big theme and one which many young people will be sure to emote along with. Set against the gorgeous visual descriptions of Shanghai and with a well-constructed dramatic plot, all of this makes Love and Other Moods a highly recommended read indeed.

Hayley Haun

It is the perfect time to travel in your living room and delve into a rich culture, people, and history. While you are at it, order some Chinese cuisine because you’re going to get hungry. Love and Other Moods by Crystal Z. Lee transports readers down the rabbit hole to Shanghai, China. Naomi Kita-Fan, a Japanese-Taiwanese-American, leaves New York City for Shanghai with her fiancé to attend her best friend’s wedding and set down future roots, but the future turns out to be much different. When things go south, Naomi loses her fiancé and a place to live. Enter a whole slew of characters (which can sometimes be hard to keep track of) who bring an invaluable look inside the diversity of Shanghai.

As the title suggests, Love and Other Moods is about the various kinds of love we experience in life. Lee’s poetic words jump off the page and right into your heart. We witness love stories between a woman and a city, sweeping down to those types of familial love like that from a single parent to an adoptive family. Lee also questions what it means to be a multicultural, third-generation young adult. She thrusts you into the anatomy of the colorful, chaotic city and explores all the senses. Along with Naomi, you wonder where in all of this you fit in. Although when it comes down to it, you learn to recognize who makes you feel at home, rather than where.