Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
“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.
My Thoughts: I’ve never been to Italy, though it has always been part of my bucket list. Thanks to Lina, Howard, Ren, and of course Jenna Evans Welch, I feel as though I was just there! This book was everything I was looking for. A fun, light, sweet adventure. Something to kick start my summer.
For a book that revolves around an otherwise heart crushing background, it was really good! I had plenty of laughs and even a few giddy smiles. A few. What Lina goes through, her grief and her loneliness…….I could feel it. Jenna Evans Welch does a great job of putting you right in the middle of Lina’s heart. If, like me, you are no longer a teenager but reading this it will throw you right back into all those feelings of infatuation and adventure. And if, like me, you have felt the bitter tang of loss, you will also be reminded of the grief that comes with being without the person who was a part of your everyday life. Even if you haven’t. It is a very real struggle. Jenna Evans does a wonderful job of taking that and writing a book that doesn’t feel morbid or depressing, despite Lina’s living situation.
Ren (Lorenzo) was easily my favourite character. He brought on a lot of humor! He was cute, quirky, just the right amount of weird and very outspoken.
No offense but Ren can be very strange. He always says whatever pops into his head.
From the moment Ren meets Lina he jumps right into helping her uncover the secrets of her mothers journal. Which leads to quite the adventure. They share an affection that can be taken to either a comfortable level of friendship or, maybe something more? Also, he lives in a gingerbread house! Spoiler! Just a small one.
Howard’s character is big on history. He takes Lina to a few places in Florence and details the history behind the statue pieces, art and buildings he shows her. He’s also a great dad, though maybe a little bit too lenient. Even if Lina is almost eighteen. Howard is jumps right into his new “dad” role when it comes to Lina. Even going as far as intimidating Ren about taking Line out and about. He’s crazy about the Beatles (nice), pizza and makes muffins at like twelve a.m. Aside from being surprisingly sweet, he also has his own secrets that surprised me a little bit toward the end. But you’ll just have to read the book to find out what they are.
Lina’s character, much like the book, was expected and not surprising. Unlike other adolescent characters in books, she was only mildly annoying toward the end. Other than that I found her character quite refreshing. She clearly tries to put a lid on her feelings over losing her mother. Since it’s been only her and her mother all of her life I was quite impressed with how she did (not that she needed to). There were break downs, understandable. Also the time she took to read through her mothers journal was agonizing to me! Probably because I was so eager to know what happened. I blame this on good writing skills from the author. Still, like Ren, she was cute and awkward.
Side Note: Gelato! I must know what real Gelato tastes like!
Recommend? Absolutely! This received an average score from me because it felt like an average book. That might seem harsh but I don’t mean for it to. I just mean that I wasn’t blown away. Of course I wasn’t looking to be. I was looking for something to cleanse my palette and this did exactly that. I love it for what it was and yes, I do recommend reading it. Especially for the summer.
What are you reading this Summer? It’s not the official season yet but the weather sure feels like it! If you’ve read this I’d LOVE to know what your take on it was.