My second batch of teen romances all have one thing in common. Each book features a average American girl who somehow finds herself in Europe. Of course, while she is soaking up all the rich history and culture she also manages to find true love.
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
What’s It About: Lina’s mother recently passed away leaving her with no family except the father she never met. His name is Howard and he runs a cemetery/memorial in Italy. A cemetery where he lives and where he now expects Lina to live. Lina has agreed to spend the summer with him to help her decide should she stay in Italy to start a new life of the unknown or return to Seattle to live with her friend and live the life she has always known.
The Romance: For a book with the word love in the title I felt this one was a little light on the romance. Lina does have a love interest, Ren, who totally brings the adorableness and the flirting. There is even a wee bit of a love triangle with a dreamy British boy (my personal favorite) but the romance feels very secondary to Lina’s quest to find out about her history.
Bottomline: If you are looking for a book about a teen girl having a swoony love affair against the backdrop of Italy this is not the right book for you. However, if you are looking for a well written story about a teen girl who embarks on a journey to discover her past while falling in love for the first time then this one is for you.
Final Rating: Two Fairies
Wanderlost by Jen Malone
What’s It About: Aubree Sadler has never wanted to leave Ohio. She was happy staying at home and didn’t want to leave for college. When Aubree’s sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble she agrees to take on her sister’s identity as a tour guide for a senior citizen’s tour across Europe.
The Romance: Aubree has a perfect dreamboat guy in Sam. He is cute and funny and just the right amount of flirty and kind to his grandmother. He is about the most perfect representation of the adorable boy-next-door type that I have never met in real life but that I totally heart in a book. However, I never warmed up to our fearful heroine. I found Aubree quite whiny. She was immature and I didn’t feel like she had really grew up through her European experiences. There were swoony moments between Sam and Aubree but I didn’t connect enough with Aubree for the romance to really work for me.
Bottomline: This is a great book for someone who wants to read about other countries. Each of Aubree’s stops gives the reader a peek at a foreign country and their culture. Plus, the wacky cast of characters who join Aubree on her trip are delightful especially the adorable Sam. However, Aubree herself is the weakest link in this chain. Her whiny and mental complaining about her travels make her feel like an ugly American tourist. Her attitude does turn around by the end but was not enough to save the book for me.
Final Rating: One Fairy
Two Summers by Aimee Friedman
What’s It About: Summer Everett has two possible futures: she can spend the summer with her father in Provence, France with days filled with pain de chocolat, french boys, and family secrets or she can stay in upstate New York where she may finally get up the courage to talk to her crush, lose her best friend, and find out the secret her parents never told her.
The Romance: There are two romance is in this one! There is the cute French boy, Jaques, who holds Summer’s hand when her world falls apart and her long time crush, Hugh, who may return her feelings. Both boys have their adorable moments. Jaques introduced Summer to the wonders of France. They go to galleries and beaches and eat so many french delicacies. Hugh allows Summer to discover how much she loves her home, he makes her feel special in her everyday world. Both had their “aww” moments and both were adorably crushable. I have to admit I was partial to Hugh. I am a fan of love interest that make girls feel special for just being themselves.
Bottomline: This book is more about self-discovery and Summer’s relationship with her parents than about her romances. If your looking for a book about love in France this is not it. However, if you are looking for a book about someone having to redefine themselves based on family secrets this one would be perfect.
Final Rating: Two Fairies
If you’re looking for a love story that takes place in the good ole US of A check back soon when I post my next batch of YA romance.