Also by this author: Love & Gelato, Love & Olives (Love & Gelato, #3)
Published by Simon Pulse on May 8, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Family, Young Adult
Pages: 320 •Format: E-ARC •Source: NetGalley
Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.
So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.
And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.
That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.
*A huge thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!*
When I saw the corresponding cover of Love & Luck that matched Welch’s charming debut novel, Love & Gelato, I knew I wanted to read it. When I found it out was a spin off of Love & Gelato featuring the protagonist’s best friend, I knew I HAD to read it. I devoured Love & Luck quickly in one short weekend, and have officially decided that Jenna Evans Welch would be my ideal YA European tour guide, and I sincerely hope she continues to write books about teenagers finding themselves while traversing Europe.
Love & Luck picks up after Love & Gelato, following Lina’s best friend Addie as she visits Ireland for a family wedding- which quickly fades to the background as a bigger issue presents itself: Addie is hiding a secret, a secret that’s ripping at the seams of her relationship with her brother Ian, who’s practically like a twin to her. After the wedding, Addie and Ian find themselves on a road trip through Ireland with an unlikely tour guide instead of on the warm streets of Italy visiting Lina. I have to say, I LOVED the sibling feels in this book. Yes, there’s some romance and friendship elements, but for a overall fluffier contemporary, this story really unpacked what it’s like to have siblings who you’re closer with than anyone else, who’s sentences you finish and mannerisms you mimic, who can also get under your skin more than anyone else in the entire world. I LOVED seeing this portrayal between a brother and sister, and I love that even though the book is centered around Addie as a protagonist, I really got the sense that I truly got to know her brother Ian too (which is fabulous because there’s not enough portrayals of male characters in YA who aren’t love interests, if you ask me). Ian is a total secret cinnamon roll of a character and I just wanted to squeeze him.
The descriptions of Ireland were really breathtaking too, and I enjoyed Googling the sites they were at while reading about their trip and finding that most of the pictures matched what I had crafted in my head based on the narrative. Welch’s descriptions of the color green were unreal and I feel like I will never really know what it means to look at the color until I go to Ireland. I could also picture the winding cliff roads, the powerful, frigid ocean beating against the cliffs, the charming little towns with their candy colored buildings and riotous pubs…needless to say, after reading this Ireland has moved up on my travel wish list. I also loved the inclusion of the passages from a guidebook that Addie finds for tourists with broken hearts. They were honestly super hilarious and sarcastic and broke up the narrative in a fun way.
My one complaint about the book is that I feel like some heavier circumstances took place (regarding Addie’s “secret”) and I felt like they were never given the proper amount of gravity or dealt with. There is an epilogue, but it wrapped things up a little too neatly for me. I understand that the focus of the story is much more on the summer in Ireland and Ian and Addie’s relationship rather than the repercussions of Addie’s secret, but given how much it was built up (I had so many theories) and the severity of what happened to her, I think it warranted a lot more discussion.
Overall: Love & Luck is a charming read that will make readers fall in love with Ireland, but also explores sibling relationships in a very raw and authentic way. I can’t wait to see what other countries Welch features in future novels!