Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Buy Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
I picked up Love & Gelato in hope of a light-hearted summery read, with an added draw being that the action takes place in Italy, a favourite country of mine, and that’s exactly what I got. The novel tells the story of Lina, a teenager who fulfils her dying Mother’s wish by spending a summer in Tuscany, conveniently staying just outside of Florence, getting to know the father she has never known. She is aided on this quest by a journal her Mom left her, documenting the year she met Lina’s father whilst studying photography in Florence.
Let me start by taking a moment to admire this book’s setting – if you’re someone who loves to travel through books, then I can highly recommend this one. We are able to discover a new country alongside Lina, sharing in her wonder as she gets to know somewhere thoroughly different from Seattle, her home back in America. Florence and its numerous examples of famous art and architecture also add weight to the idea that, as a young art student, Lina’s Mom fell in love with Italy.
One of Welch’s best ideas was definitely including Lina’s Mom’s journal, giving Lina a framework to use when finding places she might like to visit around Florence. The journal was vital for the plot, too, guiding Lina on a journey of self-discovery as she tried to discover how and when her parents had fallen in love, leading to moments of extreme happiness as well as crushing disappointments. I may have guessed the novel’s major plot twist long before it appeared, but that still didn’t detract from the pleasure I took in joining Lina on her quest to find out the truth. As for Howard, the man Lina is staying with and who her Grandmother informed her is her father, it’s heart-warming to see how the relationship between the pair develops, as he too discovers new things about Lina’s Mom via the seventeen year old journal.
The subplot, as indicated by the title, revolves around Lina’s love life, centring on two boys she meets over her summer. On the one hand, there is Lorenzo, who makes bad jokes, teases Lina constantly, and is dating a Swedish supermodel lookalike, yet is inexplicably cute. On the other, there is Thomas – tall, handsome, British and clearly very interested in getting to know Lina. Once again, I guessed who she’d end up with almost straight away, but that didn’t distract from the heart-warming ending, and the scenes where Lorenzo tries to help her visit the places mentioned in the journal are very sweet.
My one complaint about the novel would be Lina’s friend Addie, who is back home in Seattle. She appears sporadically throughout the book, as Lina updates her on both the search to uncover the truth about her parents’ relationship, and her own love-life. Unfortunately, the dialogue between the pair often felt forced, and Addie’s determination to overreact to anything and everything made her seem more like a parody of a teenager than a realistic confidant for Lina. Luckily, the fact she doesn’t feature in the novel much prevented her from becoming too overbearing or irritating.
Overall, this is a quick, light-hearted summer read. Its subject matter might seem somewhat deep and depressing at first, and there are some very adult themes surrounding grief and loss discussed throughout, but the majority of the novel is still good fun. If nothing else, the description of the beautiful Italian weather, scenery and food will be a definite distraction from a rainy day here in the UK. Love & Gelato is an entertaining read for young adults and adults alike, recommended for anyone who loves either sweet romance stories or novels about interesting new places.
For further reading, I think anyone who enjoyed this book might like Looking For Alaska by John Green, another story of teenagers on a quest to uncover the truth.
You can read more book reviews or buy Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch at Amazon.com.
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Just send us an email and we’ll put the best up on the site.Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch Buy Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com I picked up Love & Gelato in hope of a light-hearted summery read, with an
Love and gelato summary
There are two things that I love more than anything else when it comes to reading: romance and adventure. I love them so much, I literally put them in my bio. Why? Because romance is guaranteed to make me feel everything all at once: anticipation, wonder, anger (at the inevitable misunderstandings), and, of course, the heart bursting overload of happiness! Meanwhile, adventure keeps me on my toes. What place will I get to explore vicariously through these characters? What weird things will I see? What strange but useful factoids will I learn? The list of benefits to literary adventures goes on and on!
Given how strongly I feel about romance and adventure, it should come as no surprise that I’m obsessed with Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch. Obviously it has my two favorite things, but it’s also jam-packed with other reasons that bring this to the top of my “must shove into the hands of every fellow reader I meet” list.
Bonus, it’s currently available as a free read, which is great because I’m about to go to town explaining to you why you should read it RIGHT NOW!
Love & Gelato is told from the perspective of Lina, an American who’s visiting Italy for the summer. This is important, especially if you’ve never been to Italy (like me). Because Lina’s never been to Italy before, you get to explore and learn about the country (specifically Tuscany and its surrounding areas) through her novice eyes. You’ll feel everything from excitement and wonder at seeing everything for the first time, to slight embarrassment as Lina makes common tourist/foreigner mistakes. You’ll get to visit and explore both the tourist attractions and the not-so-touristy attractions. It’s a whirlwind of beautiful experiences and you get to do all this without having to spring for an expensive plane ticket!
2. The Writing
Jenna Evans Welch has a gift for writing. Exploring Italy through a book wouldn’t be nearly as fun if she weren’t so incredibly gifted. The pacing is quick and easy to digest, but her choice of words really brings the views and experiences to life. Everything in and about this story unfolds like a beautifully wrapped gift. You’re going to end up devouring the story and then going back for seconds, I guarantee it!
3. The Journal
Lina goes to Italy because her mom has passed away and her mom’s last request is for her to get to know her father. As you can imagine, Lina is struggling with feelings of grief over her mother, and feelings of apprehension, since she’s in a foreign country with a complete stranger who happens to be her father. But then Lina gets her mom’s journal, and it’s like she’s getting to know her mom all over again. She learns what her mom was like when she was younger, and makes some incredible revelations about who her mom really was. Reading through the journal posts and seeing their impact on Lina is a beautiful experience. In a way, it’s like her mom was able to give her something to hold on to and to help her get through her grief.
4. The Mystery
Lina learns a lot from her mom’s journal, and she reads it slowly so she can savor these last few “moments” she’ll have with her mom. But as she reads, she begins to realize that some things aren’t quite adding up. Something in the journal is such a secret that it would seem her mom was too afraid to actually write it straight-out. Unfortunately, this all starts to happen as she nears the end of the journal. Did her mom gain enough courage to reveal the secret before she finished writing, or will Lina be left with a lifelong mystery?
Howard is Lina’s dad and he’s pretty great. He suddenly has a teenage daughter in his care that he didn’t know was his, but he rolls with it. Sure, sometimes he says the wrong thing, but he does his absolute best and always offers gelato at just the right moments. Even though Lina is only supposed to be visiting for the summer, he makes it pretty clear that he would be over the moon if she chose to stay with him indefinitely (but only if she wants to). I don’t want to give anything away, but throughout the book you learn things about Howard that will only endear him to you even more.
Ok, so he usually goes by Ren, but Lorenzo is so much more fun to say. I mean, if that isn’t the name of a swoonworthy leading man, I don’t know what is. Ren is pretty much everything you could hope for in a romantic interest. He befriends Lina right away, and proves that he’s a friend anyone would want. He integrates her with his Italian friends so she doesn’t feel so alone in a foreign country and goes out of his way to take Lina on adventures around Italy, making sure to hit all the important places. He’s also integral to helping Lina figure out her mom’s great mystery. He’s not perfect, but he’s cute, friendly, quirky, and a little nerdy, and if you don’t think that’s better than perfect, you’re wrong. Watching him and Lina fumble through their friendship/relationship is charming and endearing, and of course, full of awkward encounters and misunderstandings!
Pretty much every time you open this book, you’re going to want gelato. Also, it feels really good to eat gelato WHILE reading this book. Just try and tell me that’s not a selling point!
Have I convinced you to read Love & Gelato? Or have I missed your favorite thing about the book? Let me know in the comments!Love and gelato summary There are two things that I love more than anything else when it comes to reading: romance and adventure. I love them so much, I literally put them in my bio. Why? Because ]]>