One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Format: ARC e-book
As the last weekend in the UK was obscenely hot by normal standards, my mind instantly gravitates towards ice-cream, sunglasses and contemporary romances. One Italian Summer gave me that the exam-free vibe (that’s still out of reach for another month, *crycry*) and made me crave a European holiday. (Soon, soon!)
Keris Stainton’s last YA release, Counting Stars really impressed me for it’s representation of teenage life, and I felt One Italian Summer had the same strengths, which was a really good sign.
But, if you’re looking for something with meringue-level of sweetness (and bubblegum pink) I’d probably direct you towards Stephanie Perkins because a vein of sadness runs throughout this book. Millie’s father has died, and the family decide to return to Rome, their traditional holiday destination for the first time without him. It’s a book that deals with coming to terms with loss, and there are a few moments in the book that are so poignantly sad, I had to sit back and think for a minute what it would be like to be in Millie’s shoes.
Millie also has two sisters, Elyse and Leonie, who are a few years older, and younger than her respectively. They all had different trajectories in life, and gave me exactly want I wanted, but didn’t get, from Paige Toon’s The One We Fell in Love With. The way they all interacted with each other felt so genuine, and the first thirty pages of the book, when they’re at home and Millie’s making dinner felt like a scenario lifted straight from a real life experience. I liked Leonie the best of the sisters, and felt like her journey throughout the book was filled with the most struggle. It’s hard to be happy when everyone else around you is sad, and I respected her for feeling how she felt, regardless of the influence of others.
Still, this couldn’t be a contemporary romance unless there was a guy on the scene for Millie to fall in love with. His name’s Luke and he already has a past with Millie that’s shrouded in drunk nights and miscommunication. *sigh* Unfortunately, the two of them fall into the terrible trope of trying to make each other jealous with other people and when something descends to that level, I’m just shaking my head and skimming the pages. When they got on the motorbike, though (oh, look the cover!) I was totally on board for all their heart-to-hearts, while riding chest-to-back.
For a short book, there’s drama, there’s romance and there’s sisterhood which is the definition of my perfect summer. I also had a craving to watch the Lizzie McGuire movie, which is never a bad thing. Overall, I gave this book 3 stars, as a good opener to the contemporary season, and can’t wait to continue supporting Keris Stainton and her excellent YA reads!
What’s your favourite contemporary romance? Are you a fan of travel in books?