Love and Gelato Book Review // the perfect summer travel YA read

25756328. sy475

title: Love and Gelato

author: Jenna Evans Welch

category/genre: YA contemporary romance


Rating: 5 out of 5.

book depository* // barnes & noble // bookshop

LOVE AND GELATO is perfect for fans of 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES and MAMMA MIA. Jenna Evans Welch takes readers on a journey about discovering one’s family and true love while exploring the gems of Italy!

I was in such a reading slump before I picked up this book on a whim. LOVE AND GELATO has been on my TBR for the longest time, so I decided to finally read it. I instantly fell in love with the mystery of Lina’s father that intertwined perfectly with romance. Jenna sprinkled journal entries throughout the book that kept the intrigue growing. So many times I screamed at the book to let me keep reading Lina’s mom’s journal before returning to Lina’s story. The journal entries truly brought to life Lina’s mom’s journey through Italy, and those entries brought my rating up to a five-star rating. I fell in love with both characters simultaneously.

Lina’s final love interest became quite obvious as soon as the second “love triangle” character was introduced. As Lina’s mom’s journal developed, the ending became quite clear. I still love how the romance was messy, though. Nothing was easily accepted as “Oh my gosh, I’m so in love with you! Of course we would date.” No, the romance was handled really well for allowing each character to have their space to acknowledge their feelings before discussing them with each other. I found the romance to be really respectable for Lina as well as her mother. I found it interesting how Lina’s mother explained truly being in love towards the end of the book. I hope to one day have a love similar to this book. Crazy? Perhaps.

Love and Gelato Instagram photo

I do wish the characters had more depth to them. I love a good flawed character, but most of these characters felt one-dimensional. The easy characters helped me fly through this book, but the book needed to be more character-driven than plot-driven. I am pumped Addie gets a book in the sequel LOVE AND LUCK, but I needed more from Ren and Thomas and Howard. Basically the men needed more depth for me to truly fall in love with them.

Also, the timeline seemed insane to me. While I’ve never experienced jet lag, I could not imagine being able to solve the entire mystery of who my father is within five days after landing in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language. I kept moving the timeline throughout the entire summer in my mind before timeline tags happened saying it was only a night or morning since an event occurred. I think extending the plot to occur over an entire summer would have made more sense.

Overall, I am excited to read the rest of the series. Basically, I’ll be traveling this quarantined summer through Jenna Evans Welch’s books.

What’s your favorite travel book? Do you have any places you would love to travel to in the next decade? Let me know in the comments!



Keeping the Moon Review // #sdessensummer

keeping the moon instagram post.jpg Colie expects the worst when she’s sent to spend the summer with her eccentric aunt Mira while her mother, queen of the television infomercial, tours Europe. Always an outcast — first for being fat and then for being “easy” — Colie has no friends at home and doesn’t expect to find any in Colby, North Carolina. 

But then she lands a job at the Last Chance Cafe and meets fellow waitresses Morgan and Isabel, best friends with a loving yet volatile relationship. Wacky yet wise, Morgan and Isabel help Colie see herself in a new way and realize the potential that has been there all along.

I decided to change things up a bit in the past few weeks mainly because life got crazy (and still will be). In order to stick to the schedule (and feel motivated to keep reading) I will be skipping THE MOON AND MORE for right now and heading straight into reading WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE. If I have extra time during the summer, I will go back to THE MOON AND MORE.

But onto the warmth and struggle that is KEEPING THE MOON.

While this book was short, I definitely took my time reading it. I also happened to go on vacation with most of my extended family. The parts that I remembered from KEEPING THE MOON were mainly from the end, so the journey through the book kept me intrigued and on the tips of my toes.

I am not quite sure how I feel about Dessen’s portrayal of fat representation. Colie’s years of being fat is shown primarily through a negative lens. The only fat character in the book is constantly made fun of and seen as an eclectic character. Dessen does not directly address Mira’s representation until the last few pages of the book where a lot of Colie’s development happens. As someone who has struggled with her weight for her entire life, I struggled to connect to the portrayal of fat characters in this way. Even Morgan’s “cousin” being viewed as a dork came off wrong to me, especially once Dessen revealed who the cousin actually was. Overall, most of the fat characters were looked upon as shameful or like they should be ashamed of who they were. The representation was not healthy.

Looking past the harsh representations, I did enjoy the relationships shown in the book. I liked seeing the contrast between Morgan and Isabel in friendship, Norman and Colie in new beginnings, and Mira and Colie in family. The contrast emphasized how differences can grow two people (or a community) together. Following along on Colie’s journey in discovering true relationships full of love made my heart melt a little. I fell in love with the Colby family pretty quickly simply because of how honest the crew was with one another. The only person who held anything back was Norman, but he eventually opens up. ❤

Honestly, I did not like Colie’s mother. Kiki Sparks felt career-driven instead of focused on Colie which is how I think Dessen wanted readers to feel Kiki was. I did not get the idea that Kiki was doing all the promotions and touring for Colie’s own good. I am all for women being focused on their careers as long as they are truthfully portrayed that way.

KEEPING THE MOON made me cringe but also laugh. My mind is not quite made up about whether or not I enjoyed this book. It falls about even with THAT SUMMER in my rating system. I have no idea if my rating has any correlation with the fact that these two books were her first ones published or not.

My next read (as mentioned before) is going to WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE, which is one of my best friend’s favorites. I can’t wait to read it!

Who is the real McLean?

Since her parents’ bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother’s new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

Combining Sarah Dessen’s trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.



Did you read THE MOON AND MORE? What did you think of KEEPING THE MOON? Which book have you enjoyed the most so far? Let me know in the comments!

Miss Charley (2)

Find me on social media!