Okay, so I love books and bookish goods and I especially love Book Subscription Boxes. Just think of it! Once a month, you’re shipped an entire box of bookish goodies. It’s like Christmas except it comes once every month instead of once a year. It sounds perfect, right? There are so many subscription boxes that you should be able to find one that’s tailor-made for you and your interests. There’s just one little problem… They tend to only be great value if you’re an American.
I’m going to level with you right now. My first instinct was to call shout from the heavens that I’ve found Eat, Pray, Love for young adults, but… I haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love and I only have the loosest idea of what it’s all about (I do know that Julia Roberts was in the movie though, so that’s something). So let’s not be disingenuous or misleading and instead look at Love & Gelato it’s own merits.
The title is apt and I guess what I wasn’t expecting out of this was the interesting dynamic between all the main characters. Normally parents in young adult novels play strictly supporting roles. They’re there to smile, help out, and then possibly die when the stakes need to be ramped up in a hurry.
Not so with Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch. Kind of… It’s complicated.
[A copy of this book was provided to me by Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.]
I feel like if I were to have a catchphrase, it would be “X novel wasn’t what I was expecting”. Although I enjoyed nonfiction Medieval Christian Literature (particularly Hildegard of Bingen or Teresa of Avila), I’ve never enjoyed the fiction aspect of it. Perhaps it’s just too raw and comes too close to being preachy or maybe it’s because aspects of the Christianity that existed then still exist today. Especially when it comes to the Crusades.
The closest I’ve come to being fascinated the Crusades was when I was watching Kingdom of Heaven and that may just have been because it starred Orlando Bloom.
From the very beginning of this novel, I was thrown off. Although this is set in the 15th century, the very first sentence threw me out of the book:
“The hammering on the door shot him into wakefulness like a handgun going off in his face.”
I had to put the novel down and go to Wikipedia, determined to find out the truth of the matter and grow about my own superior knowledge. I skimmed some of the entry and then happened upon this small paragraph in the handguns entry:
Handheld firearms first appeared in China where gunpowder was first developed. They were hand cannons (although they were not necessarily fired from the hand, but rather at the end of a handle). By the 14th century, they existed in Europe as well.
You win this round, Philippa Gregory.
So what if I were to tell you that we weren’t the center of the universe and what if I were to tell you that I held the future of the entire world in the palm of my hand? That’s right. The aliens chose me and I don’t know why, but they told me I could decide whether or not the world keeps on existing.
Easy choice, right?
Everyone is afraid of death. It’s one of those universal truths that we all live with and while we may feel like we’re invincible when we’re teenagers, there’s always been fiction which undercuts that. Were you into fiction that was set in our world? There are books that will satisfy your young adult death craving such as John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars or Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember. Want to be more fanciful? Harry Potter and the Hunger Games have you covered.
There’s an allure to reading about death. At first, I was puzzled about why there were so many deaths in Young Adult fiction before I looked over at my bookshelf and saw all of the true crime that was waiting for me there. Death fascinates us all and when written well (like it was in Everything, Everything), for the purpose of telling a good story rather than simply trying to write porn for emotions, the death of teens can be incredibly cathartic to read about.