ABOUT THE BOOK:
Title: Love & Gelato
Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Publishing: May 2, 2017 (Simon Pulse) *original hardcover publication 5/3/16
Format: Paperback, 389 pages
Source: Self-purchased finished copy from Barnes & Noble
“You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it’s for the same two things.”
“Love and gelato.”
“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.
I swear, I am always late the the party! I would probably still be missing it when it comes to Love & Gelato if it wasn’t for my booksta-buddies in Buxom Book Beauties, an online book club. As part of the group, I decided to participate in a June buddy read of Love & Gelato, and boy, am I glad I did. I really do owe them thanks because I truly enjoyed this book, and it was nowhere near my radar prior to this month!
Love & Gelato is a quick, easy read that is perfect for summertime, especially because the story is primarily set in the summer in ITALY. I keep leaning towards feeling like it was too quick, though, which is its only major downfall, in my opinion. There are two storylines: Lina’s and her mother, Hadley’s. Lina’s story parallels that of her mother’s with the help of Hadley’s journal. With the exception of the part of Hadley’s story contained within the journal, and therefore of the past, I felt like a lot took place in a very short amount of time. Lina is only sixteen years old, so she is obviously very young, and I found it a bit unrealistic for a sixteen year old to be pummeled with the situation(s) that Lina was only for her to handle it with a fair amount of grace. Although she had her moments, she held herself together remarkably well given her unique circumstance(s). The plot plowed on at times, and I suppose I may have wanted it to stretch/fill out a little more or perhaps just so I could savor the moments and the book a little while longer.
I need to take a minute to do a little happy dance in honor of Jenna Evans Welch’s writing. *does jolly little jig* I adored her style! Jenna wrote in a very conversational manner, and it made Lina appear more down-to-earth (despite my qualms with the chronology). I kept thinking to myself: “Man, I love Lina! Sixteen-year old Kelly would totally be friends with her!” thanks to how she was presented through the voice. Jenna’s writing style in Love & Gelato also helped tug on all of my heartstrings. Trust me, I understand that what she was writing was the main reason I was feeling sorrow, then joy, then anger, then heartache, then frustration, then happiness, then pure giddiness, but how she wrote it amplified the emotions that were being evoked. I loved it! But, that brings me back to that feeling that the timeline seemed a little rushed.
Okay, so I am going to go off on a tangent briefly before wrapping things up. I had a few random thoughts while reading, and if I don’t get them out…well…I’m sure I will be perfectly fine, but since I am talking (typing) about the book, I might as well add them:
- I got this weird similarity vibe between Lina/her mother and Starlord (Guardians of the Galaxy)/his mother! I mean, there is even how Lina got the journal and Starlord got the mix tapes…and how both of their dads were M.I.A. and were giant knuckleheads once found. Anyone else see this comparison? Anyone? No; just me? Okay.
- I loved getting to brush up on my Italian (the random few words and phrases intermittently mixed in).
- I forgot how much I thoroughly enjoy art history.
- Rounding these random thoughts out with a possibly practical point…I found young Howard and Ren to be quite similar, and that, to me, was sweet. It made me feel like there was an extra connection between Lina and Hadley (similar taste in men). I thought Howard and Ren’s characters were amazing, and they were probably my favorites.
Overall, I liked Love & Gelato a lot, and I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys some young love, stories of love and loss, or anyone who might want a refreshing read. Although it is classified as a romance, I can vouch that you’re not getting an overly mushy read, but this was just enough to make me put it down in the end with a little happy sigh and a big grin on my face. I also liked it enough to immediately look up Jenna’s next book, Love & Luck! So, until next May when we will take an adventure in Ireland with Lina’s BFF, Addie (I love that there is a connection between this book and the next), I hope you enjoy a little love and a lot of gelato <3