Book vs. Adaptation: Love & Gelato

Love & Gelato is the debut novel from New York Times bestselling author Jenna Evans Welch. Recently, Netflix adapted the novel into a film, and let’s just say I wasn’t too happy with the outcome. 

Synopsis: Lina, a high school graduate, would rather spend her summer preparing for college than flying to Rome to fulfil her mother’s last wish. Once she decides to go, she finds herself immersed in new experiences. 

Character Comparison 

I don’t remember Lina being such an ‘I’m not like the other girls’ type of character. In the book, she’s super sweet and nice, but in the adaptation, she came across as arrogant at times. They made her into a huge intellectual snob, whereas in the book she doesn’t think about school on such a deep level. 

Lorenzo was so different in the film. He was a fully Italian chef, compared to being Italian-American in the book. In the book, he is attending the international school which is where Howard wants Lina to go – thus creating a huge plot point of strained relationships. 

Addie is absolutely nothing like her book character. In the film, they made her an influencer wannabe and my god she was annoying. No hate towards the actress, she was just playing a badly adapted character. I hate that they made social media such a huge part of the story, it added no depth and just was not needed. 


The journal played a pretty big role in both which means it would have been ridiculous if they got rid of it. I will say it had less of an impact in the adaptation as it doesn’t lead Lina to many of the amazing locations she visits in the book, but it still played a fairly big role in the plot. 

In both the adaptation and book Lina decides to stay in Italy, but for different reasons. I’m glad this wasn’t changed as then the film would have been literally nothing like the book but it was annoying that they changed the reason.  


Why, oh why did they try to add a love triangle? Alessandro does not exist in the books and his character in the film added absolutely nothing to the story. He was arrogant, entitled and just outright boring really. He and Lina had no chemistry and I’m so glad they got rid of his fairly quickly. I’m guessing he was supposed to replace Thomas, who was part of Lorenzo’s friend group in the book. He and Lina has a very short fling but it didn’t work out. End of. No love triangle. 

Lina was aged up which made quite a big difference as her being a minor played a huge part in the custody of her/where she was going to be after the summer. 

My favourite parts of the book were when Lorenzo (Ren) and Howard showed Lina around Florence. Experiencing gelato for the first time and visiting the Al Duomo were such wholesome, fun moments and I will never forgive this adaptation for taking those away.  

How true is the adaptation to the original source?

If you couldn’t tell from the section above the film is almost nothing like the book. There were so many amazing moments that for some reason they completely disregarded. 

Which did I prefer?

The book 100%. I think even if I hadn’t read the book before watching this adaptation I still would not have liked it. Which is pretty harsh but there was little to no substance to this film. 

Final thoughts

This felt nothing like the book. It had been quite a while since I’d read the book so my memory of it was somewhat fuzzy, but it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t point out the glaring differences. 

It’s a shame to say that the actors playing Lina and Lorenzo had very little chemistry. In the book, their chemistry is off the charts, but the relationship between them in the adaptation was lacklustre, to say the least. No hate on the actors they did a good job in the roles they were given, they just weren’t greatly matched. 

Honestly, I’m surprised Jenna Evans Welch signed off on this adaptation. Sorry, Netlfix but you completely butchered what was a beautiful story about family and self-discovery. I will never forgive them for taking away all of the beautiful scenery you would expect from a film set in Italy. 

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