Love & Gelato follows Lina, who has been forced from her home in America to live with her father (whom she's never met) in Tuscany, Italy. Despite the beauty surrounding her, she can't bring herself to be optimistic about this summer. The secrets surrounding her mother's life in Italy, coupled with the mystery of why her dad hasn't been around for the past sixteen years, is all too much. But Lina discovers that, even in the worst situations, taking a chance on a place and a person can be the best thing that you can do.
I was kindly sent Love ¶ Gelato by Walker Books, in exchange for an honest review <3
Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...
“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 loved this book from start to finish. It really is the perfect summer read you can lose yourself in. Love & Gelato is packed full of mystery, humour, romance, set against a beautiful Tuscan backdrop I could easily picture in my head. I adored the way it was written and Lina, with all her particularities and emotions, was so easy to relate to, and care about. In fact, I loved all of the characters; all of them had been carefully curated by Welch to be simultaneously lovable and relatable.
I think it gives Welch merit to say that one of my favourite characters in the book was someone who actually doesn't appear in it at all - and that is Lina's mother. I loved her diary entries and I got such a strong sense of her character. I was as attached to Lina's mother's story as to the main narrative of the book. The mystery was enticing and intriguing, and although I kind of predicted the ending, I was still thoroughly satisfied at the end of the book.
I loved how Lina and Ren's friendship blossomed and developed - although it did turn into a romance I did feel that the friendship aspect was developed really well - it's not often that you get a good, healthy male-female friendship described in YA!
Welch's writing was one of my favourite aspects of the book; it kind of reminded me of Dessen - whom I read religiously every summer! Love & Gelato is an effortlessly written, endlessly comforting but also exciting novel that makes you want to jet off on an adventure to Tuscany, and I couldn't recommend it enough!
Even if it isn't sunshine in the UK, you can still enjoy a cute YA romance!
Buy Love & Gelato here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Love-Gelato-Jenna-Evans-Welch/1406372323/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502531004&sr=8-1&keywords=love+%26+gelato
Check out Jenna Evans Welch here: http://www.jennaevanswelch.com
Until next time :)