This sweet romance is set primarily in
the belly of a big Italian-American family, and the menus will make you drool. The inevitability of change -- be it good or bad -- provides the conflict. But the point-of-view shifts are a little jerky and confusing. Still, the premise is one we can all identify with.
Ralphie Chickalini has spent his whole life in one house, surrounded by lots and lots of family. But his father has died, and the siblings want to sell the house and divide the proceeds. Ralphie hates change and is full of grief for his beloved Pops. These two opposite souls brush by each other so often it feels orchestrated, maybe by the sad-eyed spirit Daria sees near Ralphie. There is certainly great chemistry, but surely they are too different for anything lasting, right? (FOREVER, Jul., 327 pp., $6.99)