“Love & Olives”: guaranteed new literary obsession filled with love, adventure, travel


"Love & Olives" book cover

“Love & Olives” by Jenna Evans Welch was released on July 7th, 2020. The novel tackles the tale of main character Olive Varanakis and her journey to Greece where she comes face to face with various opportunities she never expected. “Love & Olives” has a Barnes & Noble rating of 4.3/5 and a Goodreads rating of 4.1/5.

Greece, Atlantis, reconciliation, adventure, and a slice of romance: all factors of Jenna Evans Welch 2020 released novel Love & Olives. This book follows the tale of Greek American teen Olive “Liv” Varanakis. After years of distance, a sudden postcard came in the mail from her absent father, completely turning the life she built upside down. Her summer plans transitioned from going on a senior trip with her complicated boyfriend to Atlantis hunting in Santorini, Greece with her father and Theo, an enthusiastic teenage boy who has a habit of being nosey. 

Jenna Evans Welch masters the art of realistic dialogue and emotion. She manages to capture the conflicting emotions that comes with wanting to love someone, yet having past events impact that decision. She showcases how some people are not meant to be and how love appears when you least expect it. 

One of the best parts of Love & Olives is the humor. Some authors struggle with inputting the right amount of humor in situations, and there are some levels of humor that are either borderline questionable or only crack a small smile. Olive and Theo were a comedic duo, both of their lines filled with different types of humor, ranging from sarcasm to punny statements. None of the humor seems forced and flows naturally, as if the conversation were happening right in front of you in-person, rather than in words. 

Another factor that Welch perfectly captures: characters and their relationships. Each character has their defining personality traits that make them individualistic, rather than another part of the crowd. One of the problems in literature is the large array of ‘perfect’ characters that can do everything and look good while doing so. Welch makes each character realistic, always making sure to follow the pattern she set. An example of this is with the main character Olive. Olive depends on humor to be able to cope with hard situations, but she also finds herself running away from her problems at the beginning of the book, eventually this changes with her character development. 

Olive is an incredibly realistic character that many teens today could identify with. Scared about her future, getting ready for college, filled with anxiety, copes with humor, and much more that is revealed throughout the novel. It is comforting to have a character you can relate to because with everything that Olive managed to overcome and all of the adventures she got to pursue, it makes the reader feel as if they can do it too.

Love & Olives is the type of book where once you start reading, you never want to put it down, and once you are done you deal with a balance of disappointment that it is over and an overwhelming urge to do something exciting with your life. Whether you want a book that transports you to another world or simply need a new literary obsession, Love & Olives is the perfect candidate.