I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
on May 3, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: eARC, Audiobook
Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
Source: Audible, Edelweiss
Reading Challenges: 2017 Beat the Backlist
“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.
Love & Gelato has been high on my TBR for a long time. I decided to finally download the audiobook and read and listen. The cover is so adorable. I was expecting a fun romp in Italy, but instead it was a slightly boring and frustrating trip. That sounds harsh, but this is one of those books that just fell apart at the seams for me.
It started out promising. Lina is swept away to Italy to live with her father after the death of her mother. It’s been a few months, so the grief isn’t as fresh. That kept the book from being sad, but I also think I would’ve liked it a bit more if it would’ve delved deeper into Lina’s grief. Lina wasn’t very likeable for me. She pitches these fits about silly things, like living in a cemetery, that left me rolling my eyes. She didn’t feel very well developed either. I did like Lina’s father and I liked Ren a lot. He was sweet and interesting. More interesting than Lina, for sure.
The setting was wonderful. I was really looking forward to exploring Tuscany with Lina, and that part of the story delivered. The descriptions were beautiful. I found myself googling the places Lina was visiting so that I could see them too. The Italian setting was hands down my favorite part of Love & Gelato.
The plot revolves around this mystery involving Lina’s mother and her newly discovered father. Lina doesn’t know why her mother abruptly left Italy when she was pregnant with her. Lina’s mom leaves her a journal, which we assume has all the answers. This is where things fall apart for me. I had a hard time understanding why Lina just didn’t binge the journal and get all the answers. I mean, I know it was because there wouldn’t be much story if she did that, but it still annoyed me. Instead of just reading for answers Lina goes on a trip to question her mother’s old friends. I get that that’s more interesting, but I had such a hard time suspending my disbelief for it. By the end of the book I just wasn’t very interested in the mystery or Lina.
Love & Gelato was a bit of a disappoint for me. Plenty of other readers have absolutely loved it, so please don’t take just my word for it. Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe I just wasn’t in the right kind of mood for it. I would definitely give another book by Jenna Evans Welch a chance in the future, but this one wasn’t my favorite.