Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Amazon.com: Love & Gelato (9781481432559): Welch, Jenna Evans: Books

If you are looking for a cute romance novel to read, I have the perfect book for you! Love and Gelato was written by Jenna Even Welsh in 2016. It falls into the categories Romance and Young Adult Fiction. The story follows young Lina, who moves from Seattle to Florence to live with her father after her mother passes away. There’s only one problem- Lina has never met her father. And she does not want to. 

However, Lina promised her mother she would make an effort to get to know him right before her mother passed away, so she doesn’t really have a choice. Although Lina is moving to a foreign country to live with her absent father she has never met, she tries to make the most of it. 

However, her plan to stay positive comes to a crashing halt when she learns her father lives in a cemetery. But when things seem as though they can not get any worse, Lina is given a journal that her mother kept while living in Italy. It was Lina’s final chance to connect with her mom now that she is gone. Lina travels all over Florence with Ren, the boy next door. She meets tons of new people and tries all sorts of new things. She visits different parts of the city, including all her mother’s favorite parts. Once in Florence, with Ren, Lina finally feels like she can be happy without her mother-she starts to find herself again. But, the best things she finds in Florence are Love and Gelato!

This book makes for a great quick read. Once you start it, you will not be able to put it down! Trust me, I have read it three times! Not only is it a romance novel, but it has a great plot with countless twists and turns. You will be kept on the edge of your seat while also rooting for your favorite couple!

-Hidaya R.

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - Kindle edition by Joyce, James.  Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

As a coming-of-age novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man depicts the growth of the protagonist Stephen from childhood to adolescence. It tells the story of a child growing up in an Irish Catholic family. It is both an autobiographical novel and a work of fiction. This novel mainly describes how a young Dubliner Stephen Dedalus tries to get rid of all kinds of influences that hinder his development — family constraints, religious traditions, and narrow nationalist sentiments, and pursue the true meaning of art and beauty.

The novel is mainly composed of two narrative clues, one is the growing process of the hero Stephen, the other is Stephen’s psychological activities. The first chapter of the novel describes the birth and growth of Stephen, and the second chapter describes his experiences as a teenager and his budding pursuit of women that lead him to the brothels for pleasure. The third chapter mainly describes that Stephen frequented brothels and his sexual hunger was satisfied, but the contradictions in his heart became more acute.

He proudly refused to repent, knowing full well his guilt. One day he heard the sermon of the Father Arnall on death, judgment, hell, and heaven, and he began to hate himself and to loathe himself exceedingly. After much mental struggle, he went to the chapel to confess his sins to the priest, and at last found peace of mind. The last chapter is about Stephen’s hard works, which were appreciated by the church who gave him a glorious opportunity to enter the ministry.

Many of the details in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man are based on Joyce’s early life, and the novel’s protagonist, Stephan Dedalus, has much in common with Joyce. This autobiographical novel portrays the image of a young artist from childhood to maturity and expresses a flying theme. Joyce describes Stephen’s experiences at different stages of life in children’s style, youth’s style, and adult’s style, and demonstrates Stephen’s inner feelings and ideology by means of spiritual insight and stream of consciousness.

As a coming-of-age novel that describes the inner process of young people, Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man profoundly describes the psychological growth process of Stephen, a young artist, from his baby’s hazy period to his youth’s mature period. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is arguably the most profound novel that traces the inner workings of young people in the 20th century. Each chapter of the novel revolves around a major event in Stephen’s formative years. The parts are linked to each other and follow the course of events step by step. Readers can clearly see Stephen’s growth path from a child to a young artist, and truly feel his pain and joy.

-Coreen C.

Book Review: Paper Towns, by John Green

paper_townsIn continuing my mission to read every John Green novel known to man, I invested my time in Paper Towns.  This book follows the life of high school senior Quentin Jacobsen and his mission to find his first love, Margo, after she mysteriously disappears.  Margo is adventurous and exciting, and acts as a nice foil to Quentin’s shy and reserved personality.

As cheesy as this plotline sounds, Paper Towns was actually an interesting story filled with mystery, comedy, and a break-in to Sea World.  While the ending is somewhat disappointing and frustrating, everything leading up to it is exciting and enlightening.  This story is humorous, yet has dark undertones as it reveals faults in humanity and society.

What I learned through reading this book is that Green is an expert at creating relatable teenaged characters.  In Paper Towns, the main characters are worried about their future, but also concerned with living in the moment.  As we all know, these two tasks can be very difficult to balance.  In Paper Towns, Quentin teaches the readers how to balance the two, and how this combination of enjoying adventure and preparing for the future helps us to discover ourselves and what we want out of life.

-Amanda D., 11th grade

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green

abundance_of_katherinesAn Abundance of Katherines is a young adult fiction novel written by one of my favorite authors of all time… John Green.  It follows the life of Colin Singleton, a child prodigy who has been dumped 19 times… all by girls named Katherine.  After graduating from high school, Colin and his best friend Hassan decide to take a spontaneous road trip to help Colin get over his recent breakup.

Now, if you have read Green’s more popular works like Looking For Alaska or The Fault in our Stars, you may be worried that this book will also be slightly depressing.  That’s what I thought anyway.  Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that this book was simply a funny coming of age novel and not a depressing romance.

Don’t get me wrong, I love The Fault in our Stars and Looking for Alaska, but An Abundance of Katherines was a nice break from Green’s more dramatic novels.  Colin’s sarcasm and lack of social skills add to the book’s lighthearted nature, while at the same time help to deliver a clear and fascinating message.  (I won’t spoil that message for you because it’s pretty much the whole point of the book.)

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone interested in coming of age novels, or anyone who wants a book that is able to cheer them up in one page.

-Amanda D., 11th grade

Book Review: Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls

red_fernThis book by Wilson Rawls is about a boy named Billy Colman with his two excellent coon hunting hounds, Little Ann and Old Dan. Billy gets his dogs from a magazine order, and saves enough money by determination and hard work. He always receives tips on hunting from his grandpa. On their first hunt in the river bottoms, the dogs beg for help occasionally. Then Old Dan finds the raccoon scent and heads off with Little Ann at his side. The raccoon pulls a simple trick by swimming across the river. Two hours later the pups has treed their first coon in the tallest sycamore tree in the bottoms. Finally after many hour of chopping the tree, the sycamore falls, and the hounds race off to find and kill the coon.

Near the end of the book, Billy enters a competition for hunting. Billy, his grandpa, and his dad goes to the contest. Before hunting, the judges held a beauty contest, and Billy enters Little Ann. He quickly grooms Little Ann and brings her to the tables. Little Ann wins the beauty contest. At the end of the hunting competition, Billy’s dogs win the contest. But– spoiler alert: there’s a sad ending for these dogs!

This terrific book is truly amazing. I think that the book is great for animal lovers. My opinion about the book is that the story is truly amazing and I bet everyone who reads this story will love it.

-Samantha S., 7th grade