One Italian Summer, from Keris Stainton, is an intriguing YA novel which tenderly deals with grief, and the strength of sisters.
Three sisters, Milly, Elyse and Leonie are off to Italy for the summer with their mother. Normally this would be a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with extended family and soak up the wonderful Italian culture. But. This family are grieving. The sisters’ father died suddenly, last year.
“People keep saying it will get easier. But how? How is it ever going to get easier? Dad’s heart killed him and broke all of ours.”
Told from (middle sister) Milly’s point of view, Stainton captures the family attempting to deal with their grief in different ways. Their mother took refuge in her work missing Elyse’s heartbreak, Leonie trying to come out and Milly’s overwhelming sense of responsibility which is holding her back from living her own life.
Stainton shows the strength of the three sisters as they navigate through an emotionally tough, and at times heartbreaking, Summer. The nooks and crannies of familiar Italy are filled with fond memories of their father, it’s such a bitter sweet time for them all.
Featuring strong female relationships, the confusing layers of grief, a romance and plenty of strong Italian coffee, One Italian Summer is an absorbing contemporary Young Adult novel.