Cigarettes, Sex, Love by Lavanya Nukavarapu – Book Review

Cigarettes, Sex, Love by Lavanya Nukavarapu - Blog Cover

Book Name: Cigarettes, Sex, Love

Author: Lavanya Nukavarapu


The title speaks loud through the words of Sarjana Atluri, who is twenty-three, addicted to cigarettes, and is confused with love and sex. Recently friend-zoned by the man she loves, she thinks her life may end up resembling her mother’s, who has spent a lifetime pining away for an unfulfilled and unrequited love. But the truth is that Sarjana is different. She desires sex as much as she desires love. In a society that cannot comprehend it adequately, she is often judged and shamed for her perspectives. Nonetheless, she sets herself on a journey to seek answers and to discover herself – what is it that she wants? In her journey, she forges varied relationships and through them, she learns the meaning of life and love and her stand on relationships. She realizes that there may not be answers for everything always, but what is important is that she becomes a better version of herself every day, learning to manage her addictions of cigarettes, her need for love and her desire for sex.

This is a beautiful story and a happy song for everyone about finding love, reconciling relationships and when needed, learning to let go of what you have loved the most.

Have you ever thought of depicting a bio of your addictions and obsessions? Sarjana would like you to know about hers.

Name: Sarjana Alluri
Addicted to: Cigarettes
Obsessed with: Burden of love.
Current Relationship Status: One sided love affair.
Favourite Past time: Categorizing people into flocks – parrot flock, peacock flock etc.
No. of boyfriends till date: Two. One and half maybe.
No. of crushes: One and only one.
Idea of romantic date: A meaningful conversation, a kiss, and a cigarette.
Definition of love: Still exploring.
One thing that she hates about herself: She is never enough for the person she loves.
Fetishes: Undiscovered at this point.
Fantasy: Too many to list here. And if she were to list them, it would become a motley cocktail.
Relationship demands: Cigarettes. Sex. Love. Not necessarily in that order.


Cigarettes, Sex, Love is the second novel by one of my favorite authors, Lavanya Nukavarapu. I had loved her first novel, The Captive. And, I had been looking forward to read her new book ever since she published it. This book is completely different from her first. The Captive was a crime-thriller and this book is a romance and self-discovery kind of story. I would say that I am slightly disappointed with this novel.

Cigarettes, Sex, Love is the story of Sarjana, a young girl who is addicted to cigarettes. At the tender age of 23, she faces failure in love. She is friend zoned by the love of her life. She wishes for love and desires for sex. Her life is chaotic just like her emotions. And to find answers, she sets herself on a journey. She enrolls herself for a writing course and marches on an unknown journey of discovering herself. Will she be successful in this quest? Will she ever be able to get over her first love?

I would start my review with the story. In today’s world of Tinder and Bumble, it is difficult to true love. This story also speaks about the same. Feelings today are undervalued. Love is a huge commitment that noone wants. I found the story a bit common and predictable. Young girls and boys are often confused about love and infatuation. Sarjana, the protagonist also faces the same dilemma. The author has also talked about Sarjana’s mother and her chance at finding the love of her life. In addition to this, there is Siva and the story of his marriage. The story seemed more like a bollywood movie to me. Dramatic, and bold. It did not offer anything new.

The one thing that I loved about this book is its characters. The author has portrayed the characters really well. You learn more about them as you dive deep into the story. Sarjana is a carefree girl who loves her mother dearly. She would go at lengths to make her mother happy. The characters are well-sketched. I would indeed appreciate the author for the diverse characters in her book. She has portrayed the emotions really well.

The narration is in first-person narrative. The simple language and engaging narration makes this book an easy read. I finished reading this book in one seating. It is engaging and nicely written.

As for the takeaways, I would say that I learnt that you need to be patient with your loved ones.


Cover: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Story: 3/5

My overall rating for Cigarettes, Sex, Love by Lavanya Nukavarapu is 3/5 stars.

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