Fun fact: I probably never would have picked up this book if it wasn’t for that delicious hazelnut gelato that I had on our trip to Las Vegas.
Mmm, that was the most delicious non-ice cream ice cream that I’ve ever had.
(Also, it has a pastel cover, and I have developed a new obsession with pastel covers.)
I’d heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book. A lot of my favorite reviewers gave it one or two stars, which surprised me.
I think the reason this book might be getting some lower-end reviews is because it’s a cotton candy read.
See, a cotton candy read is a book that isn’t particularly eye-opening or life-changing, and it might not actually do you any good; it’s just a bunch of fluff that tastes really yummy.
The main character, Lina, has her fair share of struggles: her mother passes away from cancer and she is sent to a foreign country [aka Italy] to live with her father, who she didn’t even know existed.
I agree that her life really sucks at the beginning of the story, and Jenna Evans Welch is pretty dang good at story telling. She inserts occasional heartwarming moments between Lina and her father, Howard into the story, and I found myself falling in love with some of the visual imagery (hello, Ponte Vecchio. Next on my wandering bucket list!) But the rest of the book isn’t shocking or tear jerking, it’s just a bunch of Italian flavored cotton candy.
And you know what? That’s fine. Sometimes, I think readers put really high expectations on everything they read, like it has to teach some sort of profound life lesson or comment on a problem we face in society. Those books are great, don’t get me wrong. I love life changing books. But what about these cotton candy sort of books?
I’ll tell you right now, I’ve never had a bag of cotton candy and thought to myself, “Oh my goodness. That cotton candy has completely changed my life!” But I have thought to myself, “That was delicious!”
Sometimes, a book’s purpose is not to alter our perspective on life; sometimes its purpose is to just be delicious. It’s simply meant to pull us away from our busy, stressful lives (I hear you laughing. I do have a life, shh!) and let us take a peek at a different world (or country) for a moment.
For those of you who have never been to Italy, let me enlighten you: the cars drive at speeds of up to 1,000 miles per hour, the people basically live on pizza, pasta, and hazelnuts, and everyone does a lot of this:
Love and Gelato was such a delicious cotton candy read. In fact, I read it in one sitting, only occasionally yelling upstairs to ask my mom for the English translation of an Italian word. (She went to high school in Rome and is very useful in situations like this. Take my advice and don’t use Google Translate, because sometimes it is very, very wrong.)
Ren, the main male character, was thoughtful, optimistic, and willing to be swept up in Lina’s crazy quest to figure out her mother’s past. One of the most frustrating parts of this book was the unnecessary love triangle. Like yes Ren, we get it! She’s hot!! But she’s also a freaking huge jerk so why don’t you just DUMP HER ALREADY?!?
Anyway, I personally think that you should read Love and Gelato, if only to learn some new Italian phrases and stare for hours at that gorgeous pastel cover.
Rating: 4.5 stars