It's been a while since I actually read this book, so I'm not exactly clear on specific details but I can tell you the one big looming feeling I have left about this novel several months after reading it is DISAPPOINTMENT. I guess I was looking forward to a sort of Anna and the French Kiss vibe where you learn to grow fond of the city along with everything else. Everything else including falling in love with an adorable boy.
Sure, the boy is cute, but the romance wasn't exactly something to fall head over heels over. Neither was the story arc with the main character. Without going too deep into my own personal life, let me just say that I am shocking familiar with the situation the main character has gone through. While I know that everyone handles their emotions differently, I found Lina's whole attitude in general to be extremely grating on my nerves.
I don't remember much about Ren, so he's definitely not a main character that I fell head over heels for. I don't exactly remember really disliking him all that much either. He was more a steady neutral I guess. The whole romance though... It just felt extremely rushed. Not in terms of anything happening, but in terms of when one decides they're in LOVE with the other. I mean seriously, how in love can you be about a week in?
The more I think about it, the more I think this novel has a lot of parallels with Anna and the French Kiss in terms of the love interest plotline. A LOT in common actually. The setting is pretty similar as well, as they're both thrown into school and life in a foreign country and are forced to make new connections and find their own way in a new friend group. Honestly, I may be biased saying this but if you want that sort of slow burn friends to lovers romance thing along with falling in love with a European city-- go for Anna and the French Kiss. It is infinitely better in every way.
The one thing that could separate Love and Gelato from Anna and the French Kiss is its main storyline about family and finding it. (Though I suppose a big theme of Anna IS family). Dealing with the loss of a loved one and learning to incorporate a new figure into your life. While this plot line was probably the most interesting of the book, it fell flat. And was also extremely predictable.
Overall I'd give this novel 6/10 stars. It did have some cute and fuzzy moments but overall it felt rushed and there were a lot of annoying moments to outweigh the good ones.
A New York Times bestseller
A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.
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 Lina 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 Lina 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.
Kirkus Reviews called Love & Gelato “a sure bet for fans of romance fiction,” while VOYA said readers “will find it difficult to put this book down.” Readers are about to discover a new place, a new romance, and a new talent.
Ugh. Howard was obviously not her father / X from the start. And wow, the amount of ungrateful this girl is to be living in ITALY is shocking. And finally here's one of my notes that just speaks for itself "just finish the journal before making assumptions."
Thanks for reading,