Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch

Family secrets, a search for Atlantis, and a budding romance pack the pages of Love and Olives by Jenna Evans Welch, the third book in her series of standalone YA romances.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Love & Gelato comes a Mamma Mia–inspired tale about a teen girl finding romance while trying to connect with her absent father in beautiful Santorini, Greece.

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 absolutely adored this book! I loved the lush setting in Santorini, peeling back the layers of mystery surrounding Liv’s dad, and the budding friendship/romance with Theo.

This book is really wonderful for escaping reality and being transported somewhere else. In many ways, the setting really is the star of the show — and I don’t think the story would be the same were it set anywhere other than Santorini. Indeed, I think the far-off locations are part of what make this series so wonderful.

The romance is more of a sideplot to the book, especially since Liv has a boyfriend back at home (albeit one she’s not in a solid place with). But I absolutely adored Theo, and loved seeing their chemistry blossom. Their dynamic is really a driving force, and their conversations make for some of my favorite moments in the book.

And then there’s Liv’s dad, and the mystery behind why he left all those years ago, and what really prompted him to reconnect now. He’s so well-loved by everyone she meets in Santorini, and she has plenty of fond memories from her childhood. But she can’t let go of the fact that he left her. There’s a huge disconnect, and much of the book is spent diving into what really happened.

Really the only thing that tripped me up about this book is that, back home, Liv’s boyfriend is named Dax … which is my baby son’s name. So that was weird, but probably just a “me” thing! LOL.

No, honestly, this book was just a really delightful, sweet, and heartfelt escape from my world. Love & Olives is available now.


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