A Craving and Reread of Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato, a book by Jenna Evans Welch I had first read back in 2019, when life felt much easier with only college stuff to worry about. Cut to two weeks ago, when I accidentally stumbled upon its movie adaptation on Netflix (which I knew nothing about) and watched the first one minute, the adoration I used to feel towards this book came rushing back and I remembered how much I had loved it back then. That warm, cute book with the power to compel you to go to a gelato bar the next dayI knew I did the right thing by giving it another go.

Following the story of Lina Emerson's life post her mother's death, Love & Gelato is a book of love, truths, and Italy. Because of her mother's last wish, Lina moves to Florence to live with her father she barely knows. But there is more to it than what it seems: her mother also left Lina her old journal she made when she was spending a whole year in Florence as a photography student. With that journal in hand, Lina finds herself following her mother's every footstep with her new friend Ren by going through the places she used to go, trying to find the reason as to why she was so insistent about Lina moving to Italy.

Rereading is almost always an interesting experience. You get to go through a same story all over again with the knowledge of what will happen next. With that in mind, it becomes obvious that it's not the anticipation that I'm looking forward to. It's the different perspective and new miniscule details that I'm more excited to absorb like it is my very first time.

Rereading Love & Gelato oddly felt like a trip to your former favorite gelato bar. You might have ordered chocolate and got delicious melted marshmallow as a bonus, but the trip was not as flawless now that you had grown. You started to notice the chip on the glass and the slightest change of the taste, and even though it didn't bother you that much, it was still quite a lot to take in.

But hold your glass, Love & Gelato was still the heartwarming cute book that I had always adored. It delivered Lina's story brilliantly, with her learning her mother's past bit by bit over journal entries, and threading her way through every place written while making new memories. I loved Lina's point of view tooher witty and chaotic side  particularlyand how this book guided us through various of interesting places in Italy I wish I could go visit one day.

It's just that I found new light in terms of her relationship with Ren that I used to adore so much. I now realized how unfair everything was for Mimi, Ren's former girlfriend. Spoiler alert, breaking up with his girlfriend (or so he claimed) to secretly go out with another girl did not erase the fact that it was still a bit of a jerky move. And I understood kissing Ren was an honest mistake, but confessing and chasing after him while she thought he had a girlfriend? Um, that's not so nice, Lina. I knew Lina and Ren's romance was not the whole point of this book and it took only a small portion compared to everything else, but it still bothered me regardless.

My qualm aside, Love & Gelato is still a great book to virtually transport you to a short vacation in Florence. It's the kind of book you'd want to spend a holiday with, a book with original storyline and heartwarming scenes. And another honorable mention: I am now hoping to get a cup of good gelato in the next few days because why not?

Actual rating: 3.6