Genre: Contemporary YA
My rating: 5 stars!
“You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it’s for the same two things.”
“Love and gelato”
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.
Photo cred: Yours truly!
Okay, let me just say that I read this book way back in July but I didn’t have a blog back then so I couldn’t share my thoughts on this lovely book with you! (In fact, keep an eye out for more reviews for other books I read earlier this year!)
Let me just start this off by saying that this book is by far one of the most adorable novels I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. At first glance, this book looks like nothing more than a cheesy teenage love story. I mean, the title says about as much! But this story is about more than just falling in love and eating gelato (though this is quite a central plot point).
Lina, our narrator, goes on the journey of a lifetime after a tragic event takes her to Tuscany. With her mom’s journal in hand, Lina learns more about her mother and herself while making friends and falling in love along the way. I really enjoyed seeing Lina’s story unfold and seeing the relationships she formed with the people she encountered. She goes from being the stubborn teen who wants nothing to do with Italy and her father, Howard, to realising how deeply connected she is to her mom when she’s there and that Tuscany is a place that will always have a special place in her heart.
As a HUGE fan of contemporary YA novels, I knew from the get-go that I’d enjoy this book. I went into reading it with the mindset that I was reading a nice, but fluffy, novel and yet I found one that packed so much heart and humour into its 390 pages. I found myself smiling and chuckling at many instances in the book (and I’m sure I received some funny looks during my bus ride reads) because the characters, Lina, Ren, Howard, etc, are all just so funny and likeable! I love when books make me feel as though I’m going on the journey with the characters, as though I am a part of the story rather than an outsider looking in.
Lina and I went on quite the Tuscan adventure during the course of Love and Gelato; we made lifelong friends, traversed the Tuscan countryside, gained insight into her mother’s time studying abroad and, of course, ate tons of gelato! This book was easily one of my favourite reads this year. It was lighthearted and fun, yet sincere and authentic. It was the perfect summer read and I’m constantly recommending this book to anyone who will listen. I don’t fault Love and Gelato for its cliché moments, but rather take them all in as part of the contemporary YA experience.
Let’s have a little chat about this lovely novel! Have you all read it? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
That’s all for now!
Peace out, bookworms ✌🏼