Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Star Rating : 4 out of 5
Content Rating : MILD

Backcover :
 “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 Thoughts :
I’ve seen this book on multiple book lists and forums talking about how cute and sweet and enjoyable it was. I was turned off by the title because, honestly, it’s pretty cheesy. And basic. But I think it fit the book perfectly. My interest was sparked by this book when I found out that the setting is in Florence, Italy. I am half Italian (on my mom’s side) and have always wanted to visit Italy and I love almost anything to do with Italy. And this book is no exception. I thought it was a sweet and enjoyable read, and while I did kind figure out the plot twist fairly early on, I was interested enough in the characters, and the descriptions of the scenery, to keep reading.

I gave it a MILD content rating because it is very clean and has limited swearing.

What I liked :

  • The Setting - Like I said: I love Italy. I read this book on my computer at work and it was so cool to be able to look up all of the places that the characters were visiting. The author described each place perfectly. And Florence is such a beautiful setting for this story.
  • The Characters - While all of the characters were relatively simple, I liked them. I cared about Lina and her life enough to root for her through the whole story and I felt that each character I meant was supposed to be in the story. There wasn’t one character present that I felt the author wasted time writing about.
  • The Plot - While the plot seems a little far-fetched, I could also see how it could happen. Italy is where Lina’s mother transformed, and it makes sense that she would want her daughter to see her second home, if only for the summer.
  • The Focus on Food - The author did a great job capturing some of Italian culture, specifically the importance of food. It’s not just about eating good food, it’s about the experiences you have prepping and eating the food with other people.
What I didn’t like :

  • The Length - I felt like the author could have gone more in depth with the characters and plot if she would’ve just written one more chapter, maybe two. As of now, this book is adorable and sweet and fun to read, but it would have been more profound. I know that probably wasn’t her intention but still. 
What Others Are Saying :

"Lina’s capacity for and understanding of love transform beautifullyover the course of the novel; the book is not solely about her personal romance but also other characters’ interwoven love stories. A good addition for teens with wanderlust." --School Library Journal

"Lina narrates in a breezy style, her mother's journal entries interwoven to provide revelations at carefully paced intervals.Seasoned with luscious descriptions of Renaissance architecture and Italianfood, a sure bet for fans of romance fiction and armchair travel." --Kirkus

"Readers will be caught up in this story of romance, family, and what it really means to be loved." --Booklist Online

"The reader will find it difficult to put this book down." --VOYA starred review

Reviewed by Lydia Jones

Pick up your copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

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