When I first saw that HarperCollins Germany was providing eARCs of Love & Gelato I had to jump at the opportunity and read this book! I had heard about it here and there – mostly on booktube and the synopsis sounded really interesting too. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up liking this book. It definitely had a promising idea and I feel like if it had been executed differently, this could’ve been an awesome summer type of read!
Love & Gelato follows Lina as she comes to Italy to live with her father after her mother died and Lina promised to stay with him for at least the summer. As Lina arrives at her father’s, she is given a diary her mother had kept when she was living in Florenz herself and Lina goes on a journey to discover all of the things her mother had experienced and seen. On her first full day in Florenz, she meets Ren who ends up joining her for this.
Unfortunately, the only aspect of this story that I really enjoyed was the premise of the book that ended up being poorly executed, in my opinion. Love & Gelato feels like a culmination of all of the things I do not like in the books I read:
- pacing that feels off
- lack of exploring the world the characters are in.
Love & Gelato takes place over the course of about a week and our two main characters are in love with each other by the end of that week with having gone through any and all imaginable trouble you could throw at a teenage couple. I feel like if this story had played out over the summer months, Lina and Ren could’ve gotten to know each other better and could have actually build towards getting into a relationship with each other. Instead, Lina basically tells Ren all about her mother’s diary (that she is keeping secret otherwise) and they go off on this mission to find out what Lina’s mother had experienced.
I felt like I pretty much knew what was going to happen for the rest of the book by the time I had read maybe 10% of it. And who wants to read that kind of book, really? I want to be surprised and kept on my toes! I know that may not always be something contemporary does, but I have seen it done really well in other books I’ve read this year! Those books had featured similar themes and were able to really pull them off, in my opinion.
When you choose to set your story in a country as beautiful as Italy and then specifically in Florenz, please take the time to actually have your characters explore the city and its surroundings! Don’t have it be a thing that is going to be done with within a page or two. I was expecting to be introduced to all of the beauty a city like Florenz has to offer and all I got were a few short paragraphs.
Overall, I think the author missed out on writing a really great story and doing it justice by including all of the aspects I just mentioned. This had such potential and I was really excited to read it but I got disappointed in the end.
Published: 12th June 2017 by HarperCollins Germany | Lenght: 400 pages | Genre: Young Adult Contemporary | Source: I received a copy via HarperCollins Germany on NetGalley | Rating: 2 stars
Have any of you guys read this book? What did you think about it? Do you think the author wrote the best possible story? Let’s discuss in the comments below!