About the Book

Title: Love, Lucy
Published: 2015
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Cover Story: That’s Amore
BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh
Talky Talk: Easy Breezy, Mostly
Bonus Factors: Italy, Roman Holiday, Tasty Business, College
Relationship Status: Haven’t We Already Matched Before?

Cover Story: That’s Amore

WHOA WHOA WHOA—a YA romance without a kissyface cover!? And one that captures the romance of Italy and falling in love, to boot. (Speaking of: those boots ain’t too shabby themselves.) Everything else is done so well that the Vespa being the wrong color is totally forgivable.

The Deal:

It’s the summer before Lucy Sommersworth starts college. She’s backpacking through Europe with a friend, a last hurrah in return for accepting her parents’ wishes (read: demands) that she give up her impractical dream of being an actor. Also not sensible: falling in love with hot musician Jesse, whom she meets in Florence. 

So when Lucy returns stateside for her freshman year, she’s determined to keep her love of acting—and Jesse—in the wistful past. But her feelings for both are impossible to ignore, and she’s not finding it easy to cut either from her life.

BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh

BFF charm with Roger Murtagh from Lethal Weapon's face.

Given that I have no aspirations to be an actor, I wouldn’t mind Single White Female-ing Lucy for a month-long Eurotrip and her luck with the menfolk. But then I realized traveling like Lucy means roughing it, and this bum don’t slum ’cause I’m too old for that shizz. 

I’m also way over some of her dramatics, even if I’m sympathetic to her relatable situation, like when she’s overanalyzing emails or jumping to conclusions before getting all the deets. Girl, we’ve all been there, but SLOW YOUR ROLL. While you’re at it, stop making excuses for not going after what you want. You didn’t go to Africa, so you should really get out of denial. (THANK YOU, I’LL BE HERE ALL WEEK.)

And, look, I understand firsthand the plight of the spoiled girl. But I don’t get why Lucy thinks it’s a noteworthy feat to figure out exchange rates and catch the bus on the correct side of the road—for countries that mostly use the euro* and all drive on the right. I’d be fed up with her, too, if I were her travel buddy, Charlene. Sure, Charlene can be annoying as well, but she calls Lucy out on her shizz more than most, so obviously we’d get along.

*Isn’t the rule of thumb to treat euros like dollars, anyway? WHO NEEDS MATH? Says someone who likes and needs math.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Will it ever be possible for me to meet a love interest named Jesse without thinking of this song? No. No, it will not. And I am perfectly OK with that.

This Jesse is a fellow American who’s been traveling through Europe for the past year, busking and working to support his vagabond lifestyle. Coupled with his well-travelled expertise and his far-from-terrible looks, Jesse is a pretty great tour guide for your first time in Europe. (Double entendre unintentional. Although it could also be intentional, i.e., there is the sex.) 

As swoony as this may seem, I’m actually not all that swayed. Beyond his carefree and laid-back attitude, I don’t feel like I know Jesse’s personality well enough to fall in love with him myself. And the new guy that Lucy meets at college, cute as he may be, doesn’t bring a ton of swoon to the table, either. Also deffo not helping is Lucy witnessing strangers in a domestic abuse incident. 

Talky Talk: Easy Breezy, Mostly

This book is a fast read, providing a quick escape to Italian summertime before the setting shifts to Flip Flip Flipadelphia. Some of the lingo doesn’t strike me as believable for college kids in the Internet/cellphone era. But I’m someone who just used the word “lingo,” so what do I know? 

Bonus Factor: Italy

The story starts at the tail end of Lucy’s trip, which takes place mostly in Florence and finishes in Rome. But even Jesse’s brief description of his time in Venice makes me want to visit more of this beautiful country.

Bonus Factor: Roman Holiday

Lucy loves this Audrey Hepburn-Gregory Peck classic. And as previously mentioned, a Vespa does make an appearance, among other references.

Bonus Factor: Tasty Business

Italian cuisine is practically synonymous with delicious food, with good reason. And there’s plenty of it for Lucy, as it should be for any rational person with functional taste buds when in Italy. 

Bonus Factor: College

Women sitting in rows in a classroom with a projector in between them

Hooray for college, one of the rare unicorns in the YA world! Lucy’s stuck with a parent-approved major that she has no interest in. But she has a built-in group of friends in her roommates, whom I wish were developed more (and maybe even just fewer of), as well as some others she meets throughout her freshman year. Lucy also attends her first college party, which includes an amusing categorization of the types of drunks that can be found at such a gathering.

Casting Call:

Were this a decade ago, a film adaptation of this book would be the perfect pop-star-tries-acting vehicle for someone like Swifty. (Well, no. She’d be singing about being 15 back then. But you know what I mean.)

Relationship Status: Haven’t We Already Matched Before?

Book, you can’t change which skeletons are in my reading closet, but I had serious déjà vu of that other European whirlwind romance in my YA past. When I cast all comparisons from my mind, I’m still not quite whelmed (which I can be, since this is partly in Europe) by your plot or characters, esp. Lucy herself. But thanks for showing me the sights and the food.** To borrow one of your own phrases, Book, we only have a vacation flirtation—and not one that’ll become something more when I get back to my normal life. 

**Always, ALWAYS the food.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Poppy. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions. Love, Lucy is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.