Book Review

Book Review- Love & Olives

Book: Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Travel, Realistic Fiction, Culture

Date of Publication: November 10, 2020

Warning: Rant Review, Minor spoilers included

Before I started writing this book review, I went ahead and read my thoughts on the second book. Here is a link to if you are also interested: Book Review- Love & Luck

I remember disliking the previous book. After reading my book review of Love & Luck, it seems like I like that better than this one. Before I continue, this is what this book is about:

Santorini felt like an island holding its breath. As if it were keeping in a secret…

Liv Varanakis doesn’t like to think about her father much, which makes sense—he fled to Greece when she was only eight, leaving her with just a few painful memories of their shared love for the lost city of Atlantis. So when teenage Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father, who explains that National Geographic is supporting a documentary about his theories on Atlantis—and asks if she will fly out to Greece and help—Liv is less than thrilled.

When she arrives in gorgeous Santorini, things are just as awkward as she’d imagined. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. Liv doesn’t want to get sucked back into her father’s world. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo, her father’s charismatic so-called protégé, to witness her struggle.

Even so, she can’t help but be charmed by everything Santorini has to offer—the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the sun-drenched villages, 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. Goodreads

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I dislike this book. I even gave myself three days to process why I dislike this book. After reading my previous book review of Love & Luck, I think I finally know why. Let us begin with the first thing I realize, the reason why I dislike this book’s protagonist, Olive.

Olive felt like a hallow character. If you also read my book review of Love & Luck (thank you if you did) one of the reasons why I hated Addie was because of her personality. And I just realized, Olive doesn’t have one. I sat here, Google Keep at the ready and thought of Olive’s overall personality. I can think a couple about Theo and even a couple about Dax, but aside from Olive being “artistic”, what else is there? But if I connect Olive to her dad Nico, I can start seeing a bit of her. Was this the author’s intention? Connecting too much of Olive to her dad Nico?

This made me realize that I disliked Olive because I wish I read more about her showing her personality rather than being told that Olive is this and that. Which the other characters did, a lot.

Now, moving on, another issue that made me dislike this book is how long it is. I get the part where the chapters represent the 26 things on Olive’s list but does this story really need 26 chapters? No. There are unnecessary chapters and there are sections where the author just kept repeating the same thing over and over again. I mean I get it that the bookstore is awesome, that Nico grew upon this island, that Olive doesn’t like the idea of Dax and her HS friends finding out about her dad’s obsession with Atlantis. I don’t need to read scenes about those ideas over and over again. It was tiring to the point that when I reached chapter 10, I started skimming.

Mind you, I didn’t skim Love & Luck.

I wish those chapters about Theo and Olive was given to Nico and Olive instead. I want to read more about her interactions with her dad. Especially the topic about Nico’s mental illness. Which is actually one of the reasons why I read this book in the first place. You will of course have the idea behind the true reason why Nico wants Olive in Santorini. It was obvious. Sadly, all those chapters about her and her dad was added in the end. All details compiled in one scene, in one particular chapter. This just made me feel like I was watching The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. At least, I liked that movie.

Now for the last reason. Olive cheating on Dax. You know Dax, the guy mentioned in the beginning. Was occasionally mentioned once in a while. If you read this book, you might argue that Olive and Theo got together after or at least a day after she broke up with Dax. So, it was not cheating. Firstly, it just took her less than 24 hours to grab a new boyfriend? Wow. Secondly, there is such a thing as Emotional Cheating. Emotional cheating is defined as:

“… when your closeness to someone else disrupts your investment in your partner. You focus on the connection you have with them instead of on your existing (usually monogamous) relationship.”

You can read some articles about it or you can read this the one I linked above.

Going back, Olive’s attitude towards Dax was the first reason why I disliked her in the first place. She exhibited a couple of red flags to watch out in a relationship, and to be honest, I wished she just went ahead and broke up with Dax on the very first chapter. At least, make her find herself properly instead of letting do whatever she was doing in the book. Dax deserved better and I am actually glad when she finally decided to end things. This is the reason why I skimmed read this book, I was annoyed to read Olive’s thoughts every time she is looking at Theo. Yes, I am triggered by cheating. Any types of cheating. Cheating on a New Adult or Adult book is normal since most of the time it is presented as a problem. Something that will irk you as a reader. But cheating in a Young Adult book and making it sound that it was just harmless flirting? A big nope.

Now, I give this book a 2 out of 5 stars. I had high hopes when I read this book. The last star for this book was crushed when Theo and Olive became a couple. I would have accepted it if they went to the “just friends that is getting to know each other” instead of instant couple. If this book focused more on Nico and Olive finding each other, getting to know each other while being in Santorini, I bet that I would have given this book a 4 stars.

Still, if the book blurb sounds interesting to you, go ahead and read it. Maybe you will like it.

Now am I still willing to read anything by Jenna Evans Welch? Of course! I liked her first book and I found the second one tolerable. Love & Olives does not hinder me from wanting to read more from the author, unless her next book is similar to this one.

Now, what is your opinion about this book? Am I overreacting on the cheating part? I feel like I am overreacting. Let me know your thoughts!

That is all for now! Thank you so much for reading!

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