No matter whether you are a fan or not of Richard Paul Evans of Christmas Box fame, his daughter, Jenna Evans Welch, tells a great story. But first, thanks to blogger A Gingerly Review for making me aware of this sweet YA book. So, take a few minutes to click on her link and explore her great book reviews–ok?
Lina’s Mom dies and she ends up living in Italy with a man she has been told is her father. They’ve never met, but since her Grandmother is totally on board with it all, she goes. Only the house is in the middle of a World War II American cemetery. Then there’s her Mom’s journal which is given to her when she arrives. She knows her Mom was a journal-er, but hasn’t read this one. So far, pretty normal YA plot. Enter a cute boy next door, a British hottie and some cool kids from the local international school. Local as in Florence, Italy-local.
This book is well written, and while they plot is predictable to an adult, it probably isn’t so predictable to the target age range of ‘tweens and young teens. Unlike so many YA books there is no profanity, no one is jumping into bed and the only immortality is in the past and had very definite consequences. That’s an FYI for parents. For the ‘tweens who will most likely be the ones reading this it’s a fun trek thru first love–but first love with nothing worse than a one day trip to Rome and some kissing.
Lina and her friends do go to the kind of club that would require proof of age 21 in the USA, but they realize they are in over their heads and get out–but not without a consequence. Happily, that consequence is a little scary but not terrible. No one gets high, drunk, raped, abused, bullied or….[anything else]. No one has to confront deep questions on their gender, sexuality or religion. Religion does not get panned. Parents get respected. Curfew gets missed, but acknowledged, and a sincere apology is forthcoming without being prompted. The kids are 17 and will be seniors in high school. They enjoy normal freedoms of that age group. The right, decent and moral thing is what wins every time.
The plot is a little trite, but so are 12 year olds, right? This is a decent book that only the most hard-core sheltering parents would approve.
More to Come?
I’m happy to see that she has a second book coming out in 2018 and I certainly hope it’s a sequel. I want to know the rest of Lina’s story.
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
If Your Child Likes Love & Gelato…
….then she may like this trilogy while she waits for more from Jenna Evans Welch
The A.J. Trilogy on Amazon link