Love & Gelato {Spoiler Alert}

Hai my loves, Wow I haven't blogged since early August. Life I tell ya. I'm back and I actually finished a book. Love & Gelato was a quick read, but necessary for combating this slump I'm in.

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch PUBLISHED BY Simon Pulse, May 3, 2016 GENRES: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary PAGES: 400 FORMAT: Digital SOURCE: PURCHASED PACING: {4/5}

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
PUBLISHED BY Simon Pulse, May 3, 2016
GENRES: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
PAGES: 400
FORMAT: Digital
SOURCE: PURCHASED
PACING: {4/5}

My Review

The one thing I really loved about this book was being able to visually trek through the countryside of Florence, Italy.  Welch was truly able to capture the essence of the culture not only through the language, but food, art, architecture and the lifestyle of the characters; their habits and daily way of life. || Carolina {Lina} journeys to Florence to live with Howard, an "old friend" of her dying mother, Hadley, at a World War II cemetery per her mother's request. Lina was unclear as to why her mom would send her all the way to Italy to live with someone she never met and didn't know. It is also unclear what Howard's relationship was with Hadley in the very beginning and although Welch attempted to make the secret suspenseful, to me it was not. From the very beginning I knew that Howard was not Lina's biological father and that the adventure would be figuring out who was.

Along the way she met Ren, a half-American, half-Italian charmer who would help her figure out the mystery. This book is full of cliche' YA tropes but I liked the way Welch wrote Ren. Lina did end up "falling in love" with him along the way to which I found a bit laughable considering she had only been in Italy a week but Lina is still a strong character nonetheless. She was insecure like most teens but still was determined even through lingering grief over her mother's death and not knowing who her real father was. Ren was at her whim until the very end when they got angry at one another due to some repressed attraction lol. Of course they expressed their feelings to each other and lived "happily ever after."

There are a few aspects of the story that really stood out for me. Having lost my father this year to Cancer I understood how Lina felt losing her mom to Cancer. She had triggers throughout the story, little things that were reminders of her mom that inadvertently affected her decision making and the way events unfolded. I also loved the way Welch incorporated Hadley's journal entries into the story ~ the answers to all of Lina's questions. The journal acted as map for Lina. It eventually lead her to her biological father, Matteo Rossi, and he turned out to be a complete tool. The story really gives unambiguous commentary on relationships and how they're defined. Howard was not Lina's biological father, but he was her father. He was there for her, he loved her and more importantly he wanted to be a significant part of her life. 

Blood is not always thicker than water. Lina understood that in the end and chose to stay in Italy indefinitely. Howard by far was my favorite character. He was honest and upstanding even though Hadley unwittingly chose Matteo over him and got pregnant with Lina. He still loved them both unconditionally. This story was really a sweet, light, fluffy, fun read. 

 

 

 

I am not a huge YA contemporary reader, but I will say they are great when you're in a slump. There were various parts of this story that were quite predictable and to be honest with you a little cheesy but I expected that going into this read. That being said, I really enjoyed it!!


Synopsis: A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery and adventure.

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 16 years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom 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 a charming companion, Ren, to follow in her mother's footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It's a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father - and herself.


I didn’t get to stop missing her. Ever. It was the thing that my life had handed me, and no matter how heavy it was, I was never going to be able to set it down. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to be okay. Or even happy. I couldn’t imagine it yet exactly, but maybe a day would come when the hole inside me wouldn’t ache quite so badly and I could think about her, and remember, and it would be all right. That day felt light-years away, but right at this moment I was standing on a tower in the middle of Tuscany and the sunrise was so beautiful that it hurt.

And that was something.
— Lina from Love & Gelato

My Rating: {3/5}