Author: Keris Stainton
Thanks to NetGalley, Bonnier Zaffre and Hot Key Books for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release date.
Milly loves her sisters more than anything - they are her best friends. But this holiday is different. The loss of their dad has left a gaping hole in their lives that none of them know how to fill.
Heartbreak is a hard thing to fix ... Still, there is plenty to keep the girls busy in Rome. A family wedding. Food, wine, parties and sun. And of course Luke ....
Luke is hot, there is no way around that. And Milly will always have a crush on him. But this summer is about family, being together, and learning to live without Dad.
It isn't about Luke at all ... is it?
Everyone's right about this book - it's the perfect summer read, full of sunshine, descriptions of Rome and Italy and its beautiful nature, adventures and lightness. But of course, there's also some dark aspect here - a loss and how to cope.
Actually, there are three voices in this book - Milly's, Leonie's and Elyse's. Although the book's written in Milly's point of view only, her sisters aren't just side characters either, they all got a story. I'm glad the author didn't decide to write this in three different point of views, because everything more than two's is too much for me, yet Keris Stainton still managed to give the other two sisters their own voice, their own life. And while I wasn't exactly a fan of Milly's older sister, Leonie grew on me, especially when it was about her life choices toward the end of the book.
They always went to Rome together - the three sisters and their parents. But now that their father is dead, things have changed. However, when their aunt announces her wedding, the now four of them still decide to go there, although their mother isn't easy to convince. And when they finally get to Rome, things aren't getting any easier - their mother seems to be a shell of what she used to be and the boy Milly lost her heart to - Luke - seems to have forgotten about her, enjoying his time kissing other girls. Was it really a good idea to come back here?
There are hundreds of books about losing someone you love and every author writes about it in a different way. Some choose this depressive style and other choose another one. I think Keris Stainton managed to find a perfect way. I mean, for this book and the story, at least. The way the sisters talk about memories they share of their dad, the way they remember him and visit the places he used to go, it all makes you think like you're a part of this family, one of Milly's sisters maybe and discover all their truths. I liked that a lot. Their father's death is tragic, yes, but the writing isn't heavy and boring, dragging and annoying. The author manages to give the reader a lightful insight to the character's minds. The story focuses on that and not that typical grieving state of lying and bed and refusing to come out (though that's basically what their mom is like).
There's also sweet, light romance included. Aww, how I love those. Even though you really try in the beginning, you can't hate Luke. It's impossible. He's such a cute guy on the inside and it's super sweet reading about the way he treats Milly, what he thinks. I think my favorite scene might be their road trip, because that's when despite the connection that has always been there between the two, you get the feeling they are one. They're one of my favorites. Ever!
And I think (back again on the losing a parent part), the three different voices of the sisters really showed the importance of support during overcoming such a loss like theirs. They have their backs, no matter what, and they all learn how to cope, how to move on that One Italian Summer. Even the tough one (and I think we can all agree that Leonie, the youngest, is the toughest), shows her soft side and Elyse isn't as sure of herself as everyone always thought. So, they also get to know each other better.
The only thing I didn't like too much, was the I-always-have-to-control-everything part about Milly. It started at the airport, in the beginning of the book, but it was only much later, when the characters actually said it out loud, that I noticed this part of her. And to me, it kinda felt forced, like something had to be added in order for Milly to have a rough edge to her, something that makes her a little less perfect. But still... This is the perfect summer read. It truly is.