This book wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I liked it. I thought it was going to be a super cute and fluffy summer read that takes place in Italy, but it actually turned or to be kind of a mystery. Obviously, I didn’t read the synopsis carefully enough.
In Love & Gelato, Lina’s mom’s dying wish was for her to get to know her father so she moves to Italy for the summer to live with him. There, she is given the journal that her mom kept while she was studying in Florence and along with a boy named Ren, she sets out to figure out what went wrong all those years ago for her mother to leave.
I found the plot really intriguing. Because of the journal, it was almost like reading two stories at once, the present day story of Lina and the past story of her mother and I loved being able to see Florence through both of their eyes. While Lina is trying to solve the mystery of the journal, it also brings her all over the city and on a day-trip to Rome. I loved that element of adventure and I just loved seeing the culture there, because without a doubt my favorite part about this book was the setting.
I loved being able to read about the Italian countryside, Florence, the food, the language and the lifestyle. Every time a place is mentioned I’ll look it up and it was so much fun being able to experience Italy through Lina’s eyes. It definitely makes me want to live in Italy for a while or study abroad there.
Lina, I think was a great protagonist. She’s definitely still dealing with the grief of losing her mom and adjusting to the idea of actually having a father. But she is also very funny at times and she’s very curious and motivated. I did get a little frustrated with her at times because she would read a journal entry and all of these questions would arise that she would try to make sense of and she’d go out and get answers, but if she would just keep reading, I’m sure she would’ve gotten some answers… or she could’ve just asked Howard…
Ren is adorable. I like how he’s just that boy next door, but he’s also very fun and caring. He welcomes Lina into his group of friends and helps her out with the mystery of the journal. I think the romance between Lina and Ren is really genuine and I loved seeing it develop.
But I think my favorite character is Howard, Lina’s dad. He’s super adorable and he cares so much about Lina. He really tries to help her and get to know her. At the same time, he’s super over protective about boys and it is hilarious to see him and Ren together.
In the end, I kind of wished we got a little more, like an epilogue, or even a sequel. I felt like the book took place in such a short time span, and I really wanted to see more of Italy and more of Ren and Lina together with their friends. Some of my favorite scenes were of them with Ren’s friends because they come from all over the place and they have a really interesting dynamic. I’d like to see how their relationship develops and how Lina’s relationship with Howard develops.
So my rating for this book would be 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed it. It makes a great summer read, but at the same time I felt like some aspects could’ve been developed more.