BookTalk: “Love and Gelato”

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photo by Ailinh Vu

Senior Lauren Tait discusses her positive experiences reading “Love and Gelato” by Jenna Evans Welch. When she read this book, she was easily transported to the Italian summer of her dreams.

“I just read this new book that I’ve seen all over social media! You should read it.” On your friend’s recommendation, you read “Love and Gelato” by Jenna Evans Welch and fall in love with everything it has to offer. 

The perfect summer read, “Love and Gelato” is the story of Lina. Following her mother’s death, she moves to Tuscany to get to know her father. She’s not in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and landscape, however — it was her mother’s only wish for Lina to get to know her father before she passed. When she arrives, she is given a journal that her mom kept while she lived in Italy. As she reads through the entries of her mom’s never-ending adventures, she is thrown into a magical world of secret romances, art and hidden bakeries. Alongside her is the ever-so-charming love interest Ren, who joins her on her journey into a world that inspires her to follow in her mother’s footsteps and uncover one of the biggest secrets of her life.

Madi: When I got this book from the library, I didn’t really know what to expect from it. I was looking for a quick young adult book that would just give me something to do with my day, and when I got into “Love and Gelato” I couldn’t put it down for the rest of the day. I remember going out with my mom and sitting in the car consumed by this story. The Italy setting was perfect for the summer and the imagery that was created through the author’s descriptions of the architecture, landscape and beautiful weather added to the vibe even more. I really loved the little details that made it unique, such as the mystery element with the journal entries and the fact that she lives in a cemetery (her dad is the caretaker). I also enjoyed how Lina brought Ren along on her adventures because it gave them the chance to deepen their bond throughout the story. 

Lauren: When I first started reading Love and Gelato, I thought it would be just another typical romance story, but I was wrong. This book takes a fun twist on an unexpected trip to Italy and will make your desire to travel much deeper and even more so to devour Italian gelato. This is a great book for all those who love a story with adventure and a sprinkle of mystery. I especially love how the author develops the characters’ relationships. It made the story feel real while also allowing me to better understand each character as an individual. The lead character, Lina, is easy to connect with: she is very independent and searches for truth, to discover more about her mother’s past. I mean, who wouldn’t want to run around Italy for a whole summer?! Her desire to uncover the truth and stay focused gives readers a breath of female power that is not typically seen in romance novels.

Madi: Yes! I definitely agree with you about Lina. Her independence is something that you don’t find in many young adult books, as they focus on younger characters, but it was done so well and so relatable. I also liked the way the author emphasized how long it took her to warm up to Howard. It really showed the realistic hesitance of meeting someone that hasn’t been in your life, and then suddenly, she’s going across the world to live with him. It made the end, when their bond became deeper, much more impactful and wholesome. 

Lauren: I completely agree. Her circumstances are very individual and personal, but her reactions and decisions within her unfortunate circumstances make her stand out, creating a more practical world in the novel. The downside of Lina’s situation makes you want to be sad when reading, but the wittiness and comedic flares of the characters around her help readers detach and escape as she tries to discover the truth about her mother and find herself again. This book is not only a fun ride that will keep you engaged throughout, but it will give you hope that in the midst of trials, there is still good all around us, especially the people we surround ourselves with. When Lina discovers this profound truth, that life is not perfect, but when we choose to live our lives as an unknown adventure, we can discover more about who we are than we thought we could.

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