Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Synopsis: “I made the wrong choice.”
Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.
But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.
People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.
My Review: (Mini Spoilers Ahead–Beware)
When Lina’s mother dies and leaves her to live with her father in Italy everything seems bittersweet at first but when she sees the place her mother spent some of her youth she gets some insight to a trip she’ll never forget. When Lina gets a diary her mother kept while in Italy from an old friend of her’s she decides to see Italy through her mother’s eyes. The last thing she expected was running into Ren and all his friends. Ren is your dark haired, tanned skin image of an Italian boy and even though he’s one half Italian it makes no difference since he’s fluent in the language. With him and the diary by her side she has all the help she needs to get any answers as to why her mother wanted her to come live in Italy so badly.
“You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they sat, it’s for the same two things.”
“Love and gelato.”- Jenna Evans Welch, Love & Gelato
Lina has the best eyes to see Italy through for the first time but Ren is my favorite character. Before his romance starts to kindle with Lina, you get to see who he is as an individual and where he fits among his group of friends. He’s a great friend to Lina when she needs one since she literally knows no one but when their friendship does start to feel like more they totally forget how to communicate. It’s not an easy thing falling for someone who’s become like a best friend to you or someone who’s been pinning for their longtime crush for years but I got to say this book may have the best ending I’ve ever read in a book for both Lina and Ren.
To say I loved this book would be a huge understatement and it totally surprised me. Welch’s ideas and concepts of the book are complete and spot on. The scenery that she not only creates but the things she relays from actually living in Italy herself is just astounding. Lots of authors will write about other places and have never been there. It’s one thing to write about going from one state to another (in America) and going from one country to another because some countries have things others don’t (like how milk comes in jugs in the States and it comes in bags in Canada, etc.). It’s important to know your facts while writing a novels setting and Welch has done that perfectly. The only thing I was a little confused about was the group of friends. They were the coolest misfits I’ve ever encountered which is awesome but they honestly didn’t mesh well enough for me.
“So… Italian gelato. Take the deliciousness of a regular ice-cream cone, times it by a million, then sprinkle it with crushed-up unicorn horns.”- Jenna Evans Welch, Love and Gelato
This book is definitely age appropriate and fits perfectly in the contemporary genre. It’s cute, charming, and will have you craving ice cream the whole way through. I recommend this to anyone who’s read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han or Dreamology by Lucy Keating. Please pick it up! The 4.5 Star average on Goodreads doesn’t lie. Until next time…