One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton

Rating – 4/5

“Milly loves her sisters more than anything – they are her best friends. But this holiday is different. The loss of their dad has left a gaping hole in their lives that none of them know how to fill. Heartbreak is a hard thing to fix… Still, there is plenty to keep the girls busy in Rome. A family wedding. Food, wine, parties and sun. And of course Luke…. Luke is hot, there is no way around that. And Milly will always have a crush on him. But this summer is about family, being together, and learning to live without Dad. It isn’t about Luke at all… is it?”

I hadn’t heard much about this book going into it but I had seen lots of glowing reviews, and a book set in Italy seemed right up my street! This is the perfect summer contemporary! Filled to the brim with sun, food, family and all of the beauties of Italy, this book fit in perfectly with the other books I am reading this July.

This book also deals heavily with loss and grief and had me crying for the first quarter as I experienced the sisters’ raw grief and felt it alongside them. It was wonderful to watch the family deal with their grief in different ways and by the end, they all seemed to be on the path to overcoming this grief. The family element is what made this book so special and I adored the relationship between the sisters! I loved Leonie’s confidence and I grew fonder of her as the book progressed, Elyse was the super cool older sister that I always wanted and I saw a lot of myself in Milly. I also really liked Toby’s character but I wish we saw more of him and his relationship with the girls!

Unfortunately, I did not feel the same love for Luke and I was really quite disappointed in his character. Everyone told Milly how much he liked her but we never saw any evidence of this as he always seemed to be off with other girls. There was also a moment towards the end of the book when Luke asks Milly is she was trying to make him jealous with another boy which irritated me for a couple of reasons; firstly, that he claimed to have these feelings for her and is hurt that she tried to make him jealous yet he spent all of his time with other girls; secondly, that Milly apologises for kissing another boy; and thirdly, that when Milly asks him about the other girls he claims he wasn’t trying to make her jealous but wouldn’t have minded if she saw him with them and was jealous. Even though he also has some sweet moments, I just couldn’t get past this aspect of his character and he is the reason I have this book a 4/5 and not a 5/5.

I loved how British this book was, especially with all the swear words used as I found it made this book more accessible to me and I could relate to the characters more because the language was used was very realistic of young adults in 2017.

This book has definitely made me want to visit Italy even more and may have even given me the push I needed to organise a trip! I highly recommend this book for a number of reasons but if you have read this book or do read this book in the near future, let me know what you thought of Luke’s character!

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