by Jenna Evans Welch
First sentence: “You’ve had bad days before, right?”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Release date: April 12, 2016
Review copy snagged from the ARC shelves at work.
Content: There’s some drinking (the drinking age in Italy is 16) and a couple of lecherous men that the main character encounters. It’ll be in the YA section of the bookstore.
Lina’s mom has died somewhat suddenly, and several months later Lina has found herself in Florence, meeting the father — Howard — she never knew because her mother never told her about him. It’s not exactly her idea of a good time. What she really wants is to just go home and live with her best friend.
Then she receives her mother’s journal from her time in Florence, and all of a sudden, things become more interesting. She not only learns about her mother’s secrets, but sees Florence through her mother’s eyes. It also helps that she meets a cute Italian (well, half-American) boy, Ren, to share things with.
This was was just about perfect as a summer romance. Sure, it starts with a dead parent, but after that it’s utterly charming. I loved the mystery of Lina’s father: who was he, what was he like? I loved her getting to know Howard, and I adored Ren as a character. Sure, it was a little predictable (I figured out the twist pages before Lina did), but in a comforting way. Besides, I was reading it as an escape to and a romance in Italy, not for some great literary writing. And Welch served it up (pun intended) delightfully.