By Jensen Argyle
Jenna Evans Welch’s Love and Gelato is the summer read you have been looking for. Set in Italy, it follows a young girl, Lina, who has come to live with the father she never knew she had after her mother dies. Then she is given a diary that belonged to her mother when she lived in Florence, and this diary aids Lina as she discovers the wonder and beauty of Italy.
Yes, this premise sounds rather sad, but there are enough moments of sweetness to make up for that.
Lina is an interesting and fun character. I liked how interesting and multi-layered she is. She is not just the rebellious, sulky teenager as is often the case in stories such as this. She is sassy, kind, and wonderfully awkward. You can’t help but relate to her, she is so real she leaps right off the page.
Ren, her romantic interest, is charming and funny. His antics will have you laughing out loud. And you will fall in love with his family, who are quirky and laid-back. They will make you want to be a part of their family.
Welch writes about Italy as if she has an intimate knowledge of it, which in fact she does. She lived there for two years and her experience with Italy aids the story, making it come to life through this wonderful country. Her understanding of Italy transports the reader to that place, so you can vacation there without leaving the comfort of your living room. And who wouldn’t want to vacation in Italy?
Jenna Evans Welch crafts a delectable YA novel that will have you smiling, laughing, and crying till the very last page. At the very last sentence you will sigh in contentment. So be sure to pick this one up, you will be glad you did. And as always, happy reading.