Love and gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406372328
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Themes: Secrecy. Romance. Italy. Self-perception. Diaries. Feel good book. Teens Top Ten 2017. Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction 2016. Lina has come to Tuscany to live with Howard, the father that she has never met. Devastated by the death of her mother, Lina begins to read the journal she has left behind of her early time in Italy and with Ren, her cute neighbour follows in her footsteps. What she uncovers is the truth about her father as well as learning about herself.
This is an ideal book for anyone who enjoys stories about other countries. The author captivates the reader's imagination with her vivid descriptions of Tuscany, Florence and Rome and the life that Howard leads in the American Cemetery where he works. Not only are the wonders of the Italian architecture and sculpture described by Lina but the reader is taken on a culinary tour, almost being able to taste the gelato that she loves.
Told in the first person by Lina, and interspersed with extracts from her mother's journal, the reader is led into the feelings and loves of both mother and daughter. The style is breezy and easy to read and the characters are very likeable. The mystery of what happened to her mother so many years ago also keeps the reader glued to the page as Lina follows the clues left in the journal about X, the man her mother fell in love with.
I finished this book in one sitting - it had everything to make it an outstanding contemporary romance - charming characters, wonderful setting and feel good vibes.
Pat Pledger