Publisher: Simon Pulse | Pages: 400
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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 secrete 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.
Wow, just wow. I bought this book on a whim while searching through books to buy on my Kobo Touch. It was a book suggested and because I really liked the book Love, Lucy by April Linder, I thought I would give it a try. I read this book so quickly – mostly through my morning and afternoon commute to school but it was really enjoyable.
The story is about a girl named Lina who is sent to spend her summer in Italy after the death of her mother. Once she has arrived in Italy, she receives a journal that her mother had kept when she was studying abroad for college in Italy and thus Lina is sent on a wonderful journey. Specifically, this journey involves confusion, mystery, secrets, love, trust, true happiness and obviously, gelato.
I found this book to be so enjoyable and just filled with so many happy emotions. While the tone of her mother’s death is ever so present throughout the course of the book, Welch does a fantastic job at lightening it up through the mother’s written words in her journal entries. I have to say that it was one of my favourite parts of the novel – to almost read along with Lina as she was discovering the most important moments of her mother’s life that were hidden from her.
And can I just say … that love triangle? Love triangles can be a bit annoying to me, often because I feel like they are repetitive and often feel like I am reading the same premise over and over again. However, I really enjoyed the suspense that came with the interactions between Lina and Ren due to their seemingly platonic and complicated relationship. With that, I found that the love triangle was fascinating and ultimately drew me deeper into the story (often rooting for the underdog – I’ll leave it up to you as to who that is).
My one complaint with this novel is the confusion that ultimately comes with Lina’s character. While the story is truly based around her experience, I found that her confusion with her mother’s journal and message as well as the serious doubts she has about her father but never follows through on, was a factor of the book that I didn’t enjoy as much. Since I am a spoiler-free book blog, I will refrain from explicit details, however, I do believe that many would agree with this belief once they read it themselves.
Overall, this book was a solid contemporary read and a great debut novel for Welch. I think that while there was one main aspect that I didn’t enjoy or could have been altered, it was addicting and an easy read that I just could not put down. I would highly recommend that you put it on your summer reading list!
Favourite Quote: “You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it’s for the same two things.” “What?” “Love and gelato.”
About the Author:
Jenna Evans Welch spent her high school years in Florence, Italy, where she drove a scooter, danced in fountain, and ate entirely too much gelato. She now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and young son.
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