Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch | Book Review

Reading Group: 16 years old+

Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Synopses: 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 sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina 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 from Lina 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.

Cover: I think this cover is simple and very cute.  I like the colors, and how the pink gelato has a tiny bit of blue in it and vice versa, I thought that was really subtle but added to the idea of the title.

My Review: I don't know why the word "adorable" keeps coming to mind when I think of this book, but it does.  Typically an "adorable" book is one with two people who really like each other, but don't admit it and they're super flirty towards each other.  And to an extent, this book has that when it comes to Lina and Ren, but there is also so much more to this story.  Maybe it's because the last couple chapters had adorable moments between Lina and Howard and Lina and Ren, and that's why the word is stuck in my head.  If anyone has read this book, maybe you can comment if you understand how I feel better than I do. 
I love books like this where someone leaves a treasure map of sorts behind, and someone else has to figure out all of the clues.  They almost always include the 'scavenger' discovering something that is upsetting, but I like that.  Nobody is perfect, and even though it stinks to figure out something when the person isn't there to explain, I think it's important.  This story is no exception.  Lina finds out stuff that makes her question her mother but doesn't make her think less of her mom either.  She discovers that her mom was just like most young adults, trying to find herself and getting heartbroken.  However, she was spot on when she described Howard as someone who would go into battle for her.  He loved her so much, and I was so sad that they're story didn't work out.  But I loved that he was willing to take care of Lina even though she wasn't biologically his kid.  I was a little sad he never got married or anything because it kind of made it seem like he never got Hadley and I didn't see Howard as someone who regretted how his life turned out.  Obviously, he held Hadley in a very special place in his heart, but it made me sad to think he's been heartbroken for seventeen years.
This book takes place in Italy, and therefore some things are said in Italian, which is something I struggled with.  Part of me didn't want to translate it because the book was written in Lina's point of view and she didn't know what they were saying so it made sense that I shouldn't either.  However another part of me wanted to be in on the joke, so I translated some of it, but then I'd have to pause and google it, and sometimes it didn't translate correctly, and I was even more confused.  I was very back and forth on the matter.       

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