Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch was a fun and quirky read. Although it took me about two weeks to get past page 20 (it was a bit slow at the beginning), I managed to finish it in a few hours between having to stay home sick the other day and last night.
The book centers on Lina, a teenager who recently lost her mom to Pancreatic Cancer and who also recently found out she had to go live with her dad, which she had no idea existed. Oh, and he lived in Florence, Italy.
The pace of the story was okay, and the writing itself was easy to follow. The biggest criticism I have about the writing was the lack of vivid imagery, especially since the book was set in Florence. Although I’ve only visited Florence once, I felt like the author missed such essential aspects of Florence by not describing the tastes of the food (in more depth), the smells of the streets, or the colors of the buildings. Yes, she comments on certain sculptures and described Lina and Howard’s visit to the Duomo, and some gelato flavors, but I didn’t feel in Florence while reading it, which was a bummer.
In terms of the storyline, I thought it was okay—not great. Every time I’m reading a book or watching a movie or show, I speak to the characters out loud. Is that weird? After I do that my husband always asks me, “What are they doing now?” And I tell him what I think is going to happen. I’m usually correct in my predictions, but with this book, I was able to predict EVERYTHING. Needless to say, I did not appreciate that in the slightest. A good book for me is one that captivates me by continually keeping me surprised and eager to know more.
Moving on, the characters themselves were likable, especially Ren. He was adorable and embodied such a “half Italian” personality. I am also half Italian and was able to relate to many of the things he grew up with. One of them was how Italians living in Italy think “Americans” like to wear their pj’s in public (my nonna always said this to me growing up). Another one is how they think American food is disgusting. Not at all true (I love my burgers and fried chicken), but I thought these were pretty funny and very “Italian.”
Lina, the main character, was in many ways a typical teenager—talking about her crush with her bff Addie, being flirty, and too preoccupied with her looks. However, in other ways, she exuded aspects of an adult. One of these was accepting her mom’s passing and understanding that although things would never be the same, she could still find comfort and happiness someday.
And lastly, Howard was just the epitome of “the good guy.” He was always there, even though his heart was forever broken.
Overall, I’m giving this book a 3/5 because of the reasons stated above. It’s definitely a quick read and it keeps the reader entertained for a few hours.