Title: Love and Gelato
Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.
Love and Gelato was the February pick for one of my library book clubs. And really, why not? What better kind of novel to read, in honor of Valentine's Day? (And plus, we actually get to eat gelato at book club next week; I'm so excited, I've never had it before!) When I finished Small Big Things, I was looking forward to this book, as it was kind of a romantic palate cleanser. I just hoped it wouldn't be as heavy. I loved this book, wholly and completely, but I was a little bothered by the fact that there was a lot of Italian dialogue, and there wasn't a glossary. Nonetheless, this book is perfect for readers looking for love!
Carolina, who goes by Lina, has had her whole world upturned by her mother's painful, tragic death from severe cancer. Still reeling from grief and forced to move all the way to Italy, she makes new friends and falls in love with the country, just as her mother did before her. When she receives her mother's journal, she discovers that there is a huge secret about her life, one so big that it may rock her entire foundation. Navigating clumsily through her new surroundings, first love, and the meaning of family, this novel was a one-two punch of a coming of age story, with a bittersweet, slightly angsty love center at its core. I really enjoyed it.
First of all: The setting. God, when can I book my vacation to Italy? I was dying reading the sumptuous prose, and I could almost imagine a rich, buttery cornetta melting on my tongue. I also loved the characters and their development, especially Lina, Ren, and Howard. I liked the way that love was really shown in lots of different forms: romantic love, family love, platonic, friendly love. The ending was to die for. There were quite a few times as the book went on that I got more than a bit angry, and if you read it, you'll see why. (I don't want to spoil it!) This book, overall, was just lovely. I wanted a glossary at the end, so I didn't have to pull out my phone to translate the dialogue, but it was such a good book regardless! So happy! The bottom line: A fantastic coming of age story with a romance tucked in its heart, I loved Love and Gelato! Jenna Evans Welch has won me over! Next on deck: The Fireman by Joe Hill!