Wholesome, sweet and a fun read!


For 16 years, Carolina "Lina" Emerson didn't have a father. Until her mother died of cancer and expressed that as her dying wish, she wanted Lina to get to know him. Her dad lives in Tuscany, but Lina doesn't want anything to do with Italy. 

She is still heartbroken over her mother’s death and now her best friend is half a world away! Lina has no idea who her father really is or that he lives in a cemetery. She convinces herself that she just has to get through the summer, then she can return home. Then, with all of this swirling about, Lina finds her mother’s journal. All of a sudden, her best friend can wait and her mother’s death is much more manageable. She is now partying in ghost houses while exploring art museums and hidden bakeries with the charming Lorenzo "Ren" Ferrar. She also finds a secret about herself along the way that changes everything she knew and discovers more than she actually wanted too. 

BTSYA / Teen Reader (14):
This is such an amazing read that it became my number one favorite book in less than 10 minutes. The narrator's voice is enthralling. She is not just relatable, but funny and quirky. This is a story with mystery, romance, travel, and awesome food. The story was heartfelt for me. Lina saw a side of her mother she didn't know existed. Her father is one of the best parents I have ever met. The writing is crisp and strong. I felt like I was making my way through the Duomo and could feel all of Lina's emotions. But the mystery! I would guess something from the clues, confident in being right, and then I wasn't. I was guessing to the last page. 

I wish the events had stretched out over more than a few days, and that Lina got through the journal a little faster. A week doesn't seem long enough to create real friendships, but they don't seem forced, either. Still, the positives outweigh the negatives. I highly encourage anyone to read this book. It would make a great gift to someone who enjoys reading.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Teens and their parents will love this wholesome romance. The combination of touring Italy, solving a mystery, and coming of age will have readers glued to the story from beginning to end.

Content Awareness Factors:


Type of Book:
This is a young adult romance about a young girl meeting her father and dealing with the death of her mother.
Educational Themes:

Lina, as narrator, offers lots of insight into her perspectives on life, as well as her interpretation of events. Whether as a family or in a book club, there are a number of doors for opening discussions:

  • What are Lina's various emotions? Are the accurate to the situation? How does she deal with them?
  • How should Lina's father felt about his daughter coming to live with him for several weeks?
Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 14
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This is a fun read that you'll recommend to friends.

Title Love & Gelato
Author Jenna Evans Welch
Publisher Simon Pulse, Imprint Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing © 2017 (Reprint Edition)
ISBN 9781481432559
Material Paperback
Cost $9.99
Genres Family, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
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