Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Summary: Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.
So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.
And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.
That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ¾
My Thoughts: Love & Luck is Welch’s spin-off to Love & Gelato, which follows Lina’s friend Addie, as she spends her time in Ireland for her aunt’s wedding. Though a quick detour offers Addie the chance to mend her broken heart and her complex relationship with her brother! Character-driven and filled with adventure, Love & Luck is perfect summer contemporary!
Back in 2016, I read a book called Love & Gelato! I was expecting a light summer YA Contemporary set in Italy, but what I got was so much more!
So, of course when I saw that the author would have another YA Contemporary, I knew I had to pick it up!
Where to start with Love & Luck! Well, I really loved its focus on family and sibling relationships/dynamics!
Addie has 3 older brothers: Ian, Walter, & Archie! They all are really into sports and though tease each other every now & again, are always there for one another.
However at the start of Love & Luck, when Addie & Ian’s argument leads them to go rolling from a cliff, they definitely have some issues to work out.
Their mother has had enough of their arguing and so, as punishment, they are forced to stay together and make their way to Italy and get along!
With Addie’s soccer & Ian’s football on the line, if they don’t get past their arguing, its also a chance for them to overcome their own heartaches and mend their relationship.
The main focus of this book is really Addie & Ian learning to get along again as Ian’s detour through Ireland forces them both to stick together as Addie’s anticipated trip to Italy (to see Lina) comes to a halt!
The sibling dynamics are at the heart of this story and having sisters myself, found the complexity of those dynamics were explored really well!!
Along the way Addie follows a guide book she found in the hotel during her stay for the wedding titled: Ireland For The Heartbroken: An Unconventional Guide to the Emerald Isle!
She follows the guide when she learns that the trip to Italy will take a bit longer than expected and along the way, uses it to overcome her recent break-up with Cubby and the difficulties that came with it!
What made Love & Luck such an immersive read, was how character-driven it was! From Addie, Ian, & their new friend/tour guide Rowan, I felt I really got to know them and understand them fully by the end of this story!
What I find so great about Welch’s books is how invested you become in the characters! She really builds her main cast and as you learn more about them you also get more insight into their strengths, doubts, insecurities, etc.!
There’s also so much more to Ian & Addie’s difficult dynamic ( & argument) that gets revealed as the story progresses!
With much more to Ian & Rowan than Addie first expects, I was just as surprised as she was when I learned more about them.
Another plus of Love & Luck is how atmospheric it was and how Welch really builds the setting and gives it a life of its own through her characters!
I really loved Rowan! He is actually an online friend of Ian’s and as the secrets about their detour to Ireland get revealed, it turns out Ian wants to follow the different memorable sites of his (& Rowan’s) favorite band Titletrack, to in the end see them live at a festival: Electric Picnic!
He also becomes the tour guide of sorts as all 3 of them stop at various spots throughout Ireland!
I really loved his character! While he seems to be just an average guy, there’s so much more to him that gets revealed as he & Addie become closer on their journey through Ireland!
What also made Love & Luck so wonderful was that because it wasn’t really focused on romance, we really get to see the wonderful friendship between Addie & Rowan as they rely on each other to overcome their heartbreak!
+ There’s also a certain cameo I was waiting for, so of course I really loved seeing Lina & Ren again!!
Now as to why I didn’t love this book as much as Love & Gelato:
~Well, because it runs parallel to Love & Gelato, the pacing felt incredibly slow because I knew where the story was headed! (+ the in-between tour guide sections (though I liked them) really slowed the pacing for me too!)
~ Beside’s Addie, Ian, & Rowan, the other characters seemed pretty forgettable
~ There’s also the plot point of the entire reason Addie & Ian are arguing & while things are revealed, I felt that the major history to it was shared way too late in the story! Because of that, it felt that most of their problems could have been fixed with better communication, considering how quickly it was rushed through when more backstory to it is finally mentioned!
& to me what I personally found odd throughout the book, was that if Addie & Ian were being punished and had to get along, why was their mother leaving them alone & expecting them to get to Italy on their own with no problems? (This is just an odd personal gripe I had).
Overall though, what really made this book good was the focus on the main characters, their growth and the emphasis on friendship, overcoming heartache & sibling dynamics!
Love & Luck is a YA Contemporary that is perfect for summer! The story really shines through its characters and the development they undergo! Its a character-driven, immersive and atmospheric story that focuses on overcoming heartache & the complex bonds of siblings!