Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
“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 just finished this one late last night. I could not put it down. I absolutely LOVED Love & Gelato - it was a fun, sweet read that made me smile. The book is definitely predictable in every way you can imagine, but that doesn't detract anything from the story. Its still fun to read about Lina's journey to uncover the mystery in her mom's journal. You see, Lina's mom passed away and made her daughter promise to live in Italy. And now, Lina is in Florence with Howard - a man she just found out is her father. Say, what?! Yep. A man her mother only mentioned a few months before she died. And even then, she never told Lina that he was her father. Nope, her grandmother told her the news in a bid to get Lina to agree to move to Florence. How crazy and dramatic, eh? Well, she is now in Florence with Howard and is living in a cemetery - whoa, nelly! Howard is the caretaker of an American memorial and lives in a house on the property next to his assistant, Sonia. She knew Lina's mom, Hadley, too. In fact, she gives Lina a journal that used to belong to Hadley. At first Lina doesn't want to read the journal or look at any of the photos in it, she's still trying to deal with her mom being gone. However, the more days that pass by, the more she realizes that she needs to read the journal to find out about her mom, Howard, and Italy. Through the journal she uncovers secrets about her mother she never knew and even one about herself. And, with the help of her new friend, Ren (Lorenzo), Lina sets out to see Florence through her mother's eyes and figure out the mystery in the journal.
Talk about FUN! I absolutely LOVED reading about Florence via Lina. In fact, that was my favorite part of the story. I've only been once and fell in love with it immediately - how could I not? Reading this book had me picturing Florence and all the sights there are to see - the people, the food, the piazzas, the art, the gelato!! I couldn't help but get caught up in Lina and Hadley's perspective of Florence as I read through their stories. It was magical! You felt like you were visiting Florence right with them and it made reading the book such a treat. I loved all the statues they mentioned. I especially enjoyed learning about the secret bakeries - OMG! Are they even real and if so, why do we not have them in America?! And the Duomo's views are astounding, so reading about them made me wish I were there. Seriously, reading about Italy was pure bliss.
As for the story itself - I really did enjoy it. I loved getting to know Lina and her mother. The journal entries were such a great way to have us meet Hadley. I thought Lina was so brave to jump right into this new life (even with all of her reservations) that had been forced upon her. And the idea that the two reasons to stay in Italy are love and gelato is simply the best.
I would definitely recommend Love & Gelato to fans of YA fiction - you are going to LOVE this book!!