Book: Love & Olives
Genre: YA Contemporary/Coming of Age
Rating: 5/5 Stars
This book was such a win for me as a reader! I love the previous two novels in this series of books so I was through the roof thrilled when I was approved for the e-ARC through Netgalley. First up, the summary from Goodreads.
Liv Varanakis doesn’t have a lot of fond memories of her father, which makes sense—he fled to Greece when she was only eight. What Liv does remember, though, is their shared love for Greek myths and the lost city of Atlantis. So when Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father explaining that National Geographic is funding a documentary about his theories on Atlantis—and will she fly out to Greece and help?—Liv jumps at the opportunity.
But when she arrives to gorgeous Santorini, things are a little…awkward. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. And yet Liv doesn’t want their past to get in the way of a possible reconciliation. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo—her father’s charismatic so-called “protégé”—to witness her struggle.
And that means diving into all that Santorini has to offer—the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the hidden caves, and the delicious cuisine. But not everything on the Greek island is as perfect as it seems. Because as Liv slowly begins to discover, her father may not have invited her to Greece for Atlantis, but for something much more important.
I received this book generously as an e-ARC from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
I went into this book knowing I would love it. Having read Jenna Evans Welch’s Love & Luck as well as Love and Gelato and falling head over heals for those, this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I adore the focus that Welch puts on family in these books. True, there is romance in each novel, but the emphasis on family is what is key to me.
First off, the premise of this book, centered around Atlantis and discovery was something that I think was very well laid out throughout the book. I am a fan of any kind of adventure like this, but having the special bond between Olive (Liv) and her dad Niko was something that added to the story in such a fun and unique way. The reader spends the book on the edge of their seat, trying to anticipate what comes next with their discoveries. Each new item or discovery of the book lends to the story and makes it so you literally can’t put the book down.
Next, I loved the filming aspect of this book. Having the documentary be what reunites Olive and her Dad, but also being what introduces Olive to Theo. This key part of the book not only linked everything together, but also proved to be a key component to the end of the book as well. I loved watching Olive grow as a person through the filming, as she got to the point where she could could not only move on from the past but also get to a place of forgiveness and acceptance of her father and herself.
Finally, the importance of family in Welch’s books is my favorite part of them. True, I am a die hard romantic. I am always down to read a good romance and there is always one in Welch’s books, but it’s the focus on family that really get’s me. Both Love & Luck as well as Love & Gelato have this focus on family that really stoked my love for these books. I feel like this is something that Welch does so well and is missing from a lot of other YA novels. The thing about the family focus is that each of these families is different. Some broken, some mixed and some full, each family has their own quirks and things that make them special and this book’s family is no exception. Though Olive’s family is broken, Welch shows how they function and the healing that happens between them.
If you love a good family book with.a little romance this is such a perfect book. In addition to the above, Welch also goes into mental health and the toll this has on families. Though not much of the book is focused on the actual mental illness I think she does a great job of portraying it and giving it the attention it deserves.
Again, I can’t recommend this book enough. It was a solid 5 star book for me.