Title: Love & Gelato
Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Lina doesn’t want to spend the summer in Tuscany, eating amazing Italian food or taking in the country’s famous sunshine and landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that lived with and got to know her old friend Howard—who’s apparently Lina’s father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? Lina just wants to go back home.
But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering her mother’s past filled with secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. With the help of charming Ren, Lina sets across Italy to follow in her mother’s footsteps and uncover long-kept secrets.
I got serious Anna and the French Kiss vibes when reading this book, and I loved that. Anna is like one of my favorite contemporaries. From the whole being abroad thing, to the fact that Lira doesn’t want to be there, and the other kids, and the boy situation. It was all very Anna to me. It’s a light, fluffy, fun contemporary that just makes you swoon and smile.
I will say I could’ve gone for a little faster start to the book, I feel like it took a little while for things to pick up and happen, so subsequently it took me a while to be drawn in. Still, I did get into it and the book was cute.
I liked Lira. I definitely think you can’t/shouldn’t get caught up in the fact that she doesn’t want to be in Italy. Because I mean we’re all like who wouldn’t want to got to Italy. She’s going through a really tough time with her mom’s death, moving and leaving everyone behind for a new country is rough, and now she’s living with this guy she’s never heard about but who is her dad. Just one aspect of her I liked that is actually pretty insignificant but whatever, Lina’s a runner. I thought that was super cool and liked reading the couple parts where she was going on runs and stuff like that. Just her general personality is great too. Once she opens up to people she’s a little weird, but fun and just herself. She’s not trying to be anyone else.
I’m going to purposefully be very vague about the romance in this book because there are at first a couple ways it could go and I don’t want to spoil it for you. I will say that I love the romance. It’s very organic and Lina and him just fit. There’s no forcefulness or presence. I will say that it basically falls into intense like in like a week, I think that’s around the timespan of the book. And while I’d normally critique that as insta-love here I don’t feel like it is. Like I said, the romance feels very organic and just normal. Plus, they’re teenagers in Italy, I’d fall in love too.
Speaking of Italy, I just loved all the descriptions. I felt like I was eating and experiencing all this amazing food and seeing all these beautiful spots. I haven’t been to Europe, and Lina does get to some of Italy’s tourist spots and landmarks and it was nice to experience reading that. Welch’s descriptions were vivid and made it really easy to picture everything.
Lina’s basically being led around Italy by this journal her mom sent her of her time there. She’s trying to see what her mom saw whens he was there and falling in love with Lina’s dad. I like the bit of history and mystery presented in the journal, but I did kind of predict what was going on in the journal. Like I said, Lina is in Italy with this guy who loved her mother and is her dad but she’s never met or heard of him. It’s a bit awkward at first between them, which I feel like is expected. But I like Howard, he’s a little quirky, very laid back, and very kind.
It’s also worth mentioning that Lina isn’t traveling around Italy by herself. Ren is her half-Italian half-American kind-of neighbor. He’s fun and goofy, and overall just a great friend. I loved him. We do get introduced to some of the other kids who go to this like American school it Italy, but their presence isn’t that large.
Like I said, there are some parts of this that are predictable. But if I’m being totally honest here, this s a fluffy and cute contemporary so I expect a little predictability and am mostly fine with it.
After I finished this I just colluding stop wishing I was living this life in Italy. Like I just want my life to be a ya contemporary. You can find Love & Gelato on Amazon and the author at jennaevanswelch.com.