Goodreads Summary: “I made the wrong choice.”
Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.
But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.
People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.
My Thoughts: This book was very nostalgic for me. It brought me back to when I was in high school and I LIVED for this type of story. A teenage romance in Italy with a mysterious flashback story? What else could you possibly want? When I first started reading, I wasn’t sure I was going to love this book. It took me a while to get on board with the characters, and the writing seemed a little juvenile. I was annoyed that Lina wouldn’t give Howard a chance and I was even more irritated at her friend, Addie, for not supporting her. But then I thought back to when I was 16 and I would have felt the same way. Once I got into the meat of the story, I admit that I was hooked. I read the whole book in a few hours. I was swept up into Lina’s journey, her relationships, and her mother’s secret past. I thought that the unveiling of her mother’s story was done really well in the journal, and I just fell in love with Howard. There were some twists that I expected, and others that I didn’t, which surprised me. I thought it would be a predictable ending. Lina was a very likable and relatable character. I did get frustrated with her a few times, but I knew she’d figure it all out in the end. I liked her love interest a lot. It was a little insta-lovey, seeing as they only knew each other for a couple days, but with they way their relationship developed I was ok with it. There was a great collection of minor characters as well. I especially loved the different students at their school. They created a great environment for Lina to fall in love with Italy. Speaking of Italy, Welch clearly did her research on her location. I felt like I was there with Lina and her descriptions were very specific and beautiful. This book definitely awakened my wanderlust, and I might have looked up flights to Italy after finishing… In the end, I liked this book far more than I expected to. It was such a cute, heart-warming story, and I haven’t read one of those in a long time. I laughed, I cried, I had all the feels.