“Sonia met my eyes in the mirror. ‘You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it’s for the same two things.’
‘Love and gelato.’
‘Amen,’ Howard said.”
Lina finds herself spending the summer in Italy to fulfill her mom’s dying wish. She grew up with just her mother, never knowing much about her father except that he wasn’t there. Just before her mother’s death, Lina learns more about her mom’s life, particularly her time in Italy and about a man named Howard. Will Italy just be a place she survives or will she find answers to questions she doesn’t even know she has?
The daughter of my favorite author, Richard Paul Evans, wrote this book. When I found out she had written a book, I added it to my list. I was at the library a few weeks ago with my children and saw it on a shelf in the young adult section so I grabbed it.
Lina stays with Howard when she gets to Italy, but plans to return home and live with a friend as soon as she can. She assumes Howard is her father, but after receiving a journal her mom had mailed to her in Italy, she soon discovers her mother was in love with another person at the art school where she was studying photography. As Lina and her new friend, Ren, try tracking down the people and places mentioned in the journal, Lina starts developing friendships with the local teenagers and Howard. Her heart begins to open back up after her mother’s death and Italy becomes part of her, too.
I found this book very easy to read and it reminded me of Richard Paul Evans’ style of being quotable. I think the plot was interesting, but I had trouble with Lina not showing much interest in who her father was when she was growing up and that she didn’t read the entire journal in one sitting, but was able to just read bits here and there. It’s not what I would do if I came across a journal from my recently deceased mother explaining why she wanted me to go to a foreign country and stay with a stranger.
However, I would recommend this book to any high school aged girl or older. It’s an interesting love story in many dimensions and shows how family is who we bring into our lives and how those we love never really leave us.