After losing her mother, Lina goes to spend the summer with her father, who she had never met before, in Florence, Italy. Her mother had very fond memories of Italy when she was a student there and wants her daughter to have the same, which is why one of her last wishes was for Lina to go live in Italy too. In Italy, Lina gets one of her mother’s old journal from her college days from which she learns a lot about her. She also meets a boy named Lorenzo, who helps her go to all the places mentioned in the journal and takes her to see the sights in the city.
This was a really sweet, enjoyable read that I am sure everyone will just fly through. My average rating for it is because it’s not amazing – there are definitely some things that make it more unique than other YA contemporaries but it’s too cheesy and predictable to get a higher rating than this.
Firstly, the setting. I love when the setting of a story actually contributes to the story and it sure did! I loved all the stories attached to all the different locations and in general, this book did a really good job of sparking the traveler in my soul. I googled a lot of the places mentioned and just drooled over how beautiful they are. Italy is beautiful and this book definitely does it justice! The descriptions draw you in and leave you wanting more. Another thing I really enjoyed was that there were Italian words incorporated in the dialogue which it made the story more realistic and believable.
An obvious factor that drew me towards this book is the title – Love and Gelato. To be honest, I wasn’t that bothered about the love either, I just wanted the gelato 😛 And I was not disappointed. Over the course of the book, they try various Italian cuisine, and A LOT OF GELATO! Here’s a small montage of pictures to make you hungry. Thanks.
“Chocolate spoke to me in any language.”
“…what was the last kind I had? With the chocolate chunks?”
“I’m naming my first daughter after it.”
Lina is literally me. Talk about relatable characters, am I right? xD
What made this book really unique was Lina’s mother’s diary, from her days in Italy as a student. It was almost like a mystery, reading about her experiences and trying to piece together Lina’s life – who is her father, why did her mother leave Italy etc. This story arc added a new dimension to this story and made it more than an average love story. I loved seeing Lina getting closure on her mother’s death by rediscovering her past and it almost felt like she was getting to know a different side of her mother.
Lina’s characterization was great and I loved reading from her point of view. The author managed to convey her thoughts on a lot of things very effectively – getting over the loss of her mother, meeting new people and adjusting to new situations, the anger and frustration she felt about her life – it was all wonderful. I also really liked Lorenzo – he was a super fun character and I liked that he was so warm and open to helping Lina out. Another great character was Howard – he was just so sweet and understanding and my heart broke for him so many times. He’s definitely one of the best ‘father figure’ characters in Young Adult contemporary fiction that I have read.
Something I wish there was more of was the interactions between Lina and Lorenzo’s school friends. Whenever they met, they were ridiculously overenthusiastic and it was a lot of fun to read! There is a bit of a love triangle situation but it soon resolves itself in a way that isn’t angsty or frustrating (*cough* Twilight *cough*) What really bothered me in the story was the insta-love. Lina believes that she is genuinely in love with this boy who she has known exactly four days. Four days. I would have liked if it ended with them saying they liked each other instead of literally proclaiming undying feelings for each other. :3
-end of spoiler-
This is a really cute read and I’m sure that if you enjoy YA contemporary, you will love it. It’s perfect if you’re in a book slump and want to read something that doesn’t require you to think a lot. A fair warning though, you will leave this book feeling extremely hungry! 😛
“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.”
Have you read this book? Have you ever visited Italy? What books do you think are good cures for book hangovers?