Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch || Book Review

“What I really want is someone who will wake me up early so I don’t miss a sunrise.”

Synopsis: 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.

Source: Goodreads

Title: Love & Gelato
Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Series: Love & Gelato, Book One
Links: Book Depository | Chapters Indigo | Goodreads

Genre / Themes: Contemporary | Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 2, 2017 (first published May 3, 2016)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400

I’m not going to lie … about 70% of the reason I bought this book’s because the cover’s SUPER ADORABLE! I also saw a lot of reviews where people said they really enjoyed this as a relaxing and easy read … which I was desperately looking for this year!

Were those reviews accurate? YES. THEY. WERE! This was exactly what I needed with my reading rut recently, something cutesy and fun but doesn’t dive into TOO much. Though I wanted to love this romance story, I couldn’t get past some of the content and the “okay-ness” with these acts.

Pro 1. The mystery element about Lina’s mother’s past was engaging and interesting! Since we don’t really get to read much of Lina’s mother’s perspective as she passes away early on in the novel, it was fun to see Lina discover more about her mom and what happened in Italy through the journal entries. I’m an addict of journal writing, so this was really close to my heart. It also helped bring to light a lot of what was going on, since we are as clueless as Lina at the beginning.

Pro 2. I’m a huge fan of Welch’s writing style … she makes it difficult to put the novel down! There’s just something so wonderful about her writing! It’s captivating, making you not want to stop reading even when it’s almost 3:00 AM. She has a beautiful blend for moving the story forward yet also providing a balanced amount of detail. From the scenery to the delicious sounding food, I felt as though I was there with Lina throughout the story.

Pro 3. Following Lina’s struggle with her grief was both respectful and well-done. I’m not going to pretend to fathom what it would be like to lose a mother, since I’m extremely close with my mom. Lina’s connection with her mom stays throughout the story — not just through the journal, but through the people she meets from her mom’s past. Lina starts off rather distance and rude, making it difficult on people. But as she starts to open herself up more, she learns it’s okay to move forward even with her mom gone — continuing her grieving process in a healthier manner. There’s a beautiful moment when she realizes that she will never stop missing her mother — that’s just her hand in life. But it’ll become easier, and she will keep on living as her mother would want her to.

Pro 4. There’s a great and important focus on family. From blood to non-blood ties, there’s a great attention on the importance of family. Lina’s experience comes from learning to find a connection with her new family, but she also has great ties with her friend (and family) back in the United States. But it’s not just Lina — her friend, Ren, has a great family dynamic that’s strong and loving. Welch shows in this novel that we get to choose our family, contrary to popular belief — and that’s a beautiful message.

Woe 1. The cheat-to-love trope … again … I’m not a fan. As some have pointed out, the two in question are broken up before anything major happens, but there’s an intense amount of emotional cheating. There’s absolutely NO need for this trope to make a decent love story … whatsoever. Whenever I read novels with this trope, I think of the person being cheated on … the point of view we don’t really get to see. Sure, the person in this novel isn’t a really nice human, but that doesn’t mean having a character cheat on them is okay. This trope just feels gross and unwanted.

Woe 2. As much as I love the main characters, some of their actions made me really disgusted. Lina and Ren are adorable, don’t get me wrong … but they do some SERIOUSLY rude things. From cheating to using other characters in order to find “true love”, it’s honestly so awful to read about. And even the parental figures urge them on, fully aware of the cheating and using … for “true love”. If emotional cheating and using someone is “true love”, I’ll stay clear.

Woe 3. Insta-love on a WHOLE NEW LEVEL! Oh … my …. goodness. It’s been a WHILE since I’ve read a book with such intense insta-love!!! The relationship basically develops from “stranger to I-love-you” in less than a week … creating little to no time for development between the two characters. It made the romance feel less sincere and romantic, being TOO unrealistic for me.

Overall, Welch’s Love & Getalo is an adorable young adult romance novel, one that’s sure to make your heart melt. Not only does the novel focus on romantic love, but Welch focuses a lot on familial love and learning to cope with the loss of a loved one. Wonderfully written and beautifully detailed, this meet-cute love story will have you enticed!

I recommend this novel if you enjoy:

↠ Insta-love
↠ Page-turners
↠ Past and present POVs
↠ Journal entry POVs
↠ Romantic and familial love

Have you read Jenna Evan Welch’s Love & Gelato?

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Author of Bookmark Your Thoughts, both the Tumblr and WordPress book review blogs. I'm a tea drinking, book loving librarian who just loves literature.

13 thoughts on “Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch || Book Review

  1. I read this last summer while I was on vacation. It was really cute and fit well for when I was reading it, but it wasn’t super memorable. I also hate the trope where the characters use other characters to realize they love each other. I guess it happens in real life, but it’s just… no. Not a fan. 😬 I really loved the Italian culture, especially all the gelato! I thought that was really well done. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh …i know eh?! That trope is awful. I forget his name, but the guy she uses isn’t a bad guy at all (which you shouldn’t do that in general, but it was even more brutal because he’s a decent guy). I just don’t like books with that message because it makes it seem like it’s okay when it’s not , you know? I do love the emphasis on the Italian culture as well! Makes me want to travel their sooner rather than later!

      Liked by 1 person

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