A European summer flirtation blossoms into something more in this romance set in Italy and Pennsylvania.
While on a high school graduation trip to Florence, aspiring actress Lucy meets Jesse, a wandering minstrel of a boy originally from New Jersey who busks for room and board. During the last days of her vacation, they share a hotel room, and tensions arise when Lucy chooses to spend time with Jesse over her traveling companion, Charlene. When it’s time for Lucy to go home, she and Jesse reluctantly part, and Lucy is convinced she will never see Jesse again. Fast-forward to her freshman year at a Philadelphia college. Lucy lands a lead role in Rent, even though her controlling father has forbidden her to keep acting. She has a gorgeous new boyfriend named Shane but can’t stop thinking about Jesse. When Jesse shows up unexpectedly on campus, Lucy must decide between rebelling against her father and following her dreams with Jesse or sticking with her business major and playing it safe with Shane. This novel is ideal fodder for romance traditionalists, checking off every genre trope with the regularity of a metronome in solid if unremarkable prose. And Lindner does a good job of describing how uncomfortable travel can become when friends no longer get along. But readers looking for a more juicily written romance travelogue that teases and surprises at every turn may prefer Gayle Forman’s Just One Day (2013) and Just One Year (2013).
A satisfying if predictable crowd pleaser. (Fiction. 13-17)