Wanderlost by Jen Malone
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: May 31, 2016
Format: eARC, 352 pages
How I got it: Edelweiss
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.
Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.
Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.
But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.
The first thing that captured my attention about Wanderlost was, of course, the cover. I loved the colors and the font and, honestly, everything about it. It looked fun. It screamed “READ ME! YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!” The synopsis drew me in further, and the number of raving 4 and 5 star reviews from bloggers I trust finally pushed me over the edge and made me pick this one up when I did. It lived up to the cover and the synopsis and I adored just about everything about it.
I love a good road trip book. They’re, like, my kryptonite. (Especially if there’s a swoony boy involved.) Of course I was going to read this book. (At some point.) I was totally hooked on this book from the moment Aubree agreed to take her sister’s place on the European senior citizen bus tour. There might not have been a swoony boy in sight at that point, but I knew I liked Aubree’s spunk and I was ready to follow her adventures. (Even if the whole thing was a bit far-fetched.) I wanted her to prove her sister wrong and I hoped she would learn a little more about who she really was during her travels.
I loved Aubree. She was in an impossible situation, but attempted to make the best of it and enjoy the opportunity she’d been given. (Forced into by guilt?) Either way, she’s obviously in over her head since she a) isn’t who everyone thinks she is, b) isn’t qualified or trained to lead such a trip, c) doesn’t speak the language of the tour’s bus driver and d) lost the binder her sister prepared with ALL THE INFO. Obviously she wasn’t all that great at her job in the beginning. But she learned and she grew. She wasn’t sullen. It took a little while for her to fully fall into the groove and really get to know the others on the trip. When she did, the book became that much better. And none of it wouldn’t have happened without the mishap that led swoony Sam (the owner’s son) to join the tour. (YES! Swoony boy!)
Sam was wonderful. I loved the phone flirtation they had going on early on in the book. You know when you read a book and just have a huge, cheesy grin on your face? That was me reading their initial phone conversations and then, of course, later with their face-to-face interactions. I loved the pairing of these two, even if I knew there would be a certain amount of drama once he found out she wasn’t really Elizabeth/Lizzy… because I knew he had to find out one way or another. As Sam has issues with liars, I knew it was possible that it would totally derail what they were building, but I had to hope otherwise. Naturally, I’m not going to tell you any more about that. You’ll have to read to find out what happens.
So, I loved the main characters and the romance. The road trip aspect was fantastic. It made me want to get my passport and go somewhere. Anywhere. Everywhere. (This is the real danger with road trip books!) All this aside, one of my FAVORITE things about the books was the group of senior citizens on the trip. They didn’t just blend into the background. Each of them was unique and special and they played an important part in Aubree’s growth during this book. They were funny and spunky and meddlesome. Their personalities shown through and they felt so much like people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in my life. They were so good that, dare I say even if there WASN’T a swoony boy involved, I’d probably have been totally enthralled with the story. Yes, it was that good.
I can’t rave enough about this book. Sure, you need to suspend reality a bit to start when it comes to the whole setup with Aubree taking her sister’s spot on the tour and NOT telling their parents. But it was so easy to do that because the writing was that good and the progression of the storyline so perfect otherwise. I fell in love with each and every one of the characters and it was a totally happy-making book. There were a few tears along the way, too, but they didn’t last long. I loved how Aubree’s character developed and grew over the course of the story. I liked her to begin with, but by the end I was all but standing up shouting “You go girl!” as she came into her own. The only thing I wish different was that there was an epilogue. I mean, I’m really happy with the ending, but I’d have been even happier with just a little bit more as I’m a totally greedy reader. I guess this way I can imagine it all continued however I want, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. Regardless, if you’re looking for your new favorite YA contemporary book, one that combines romance and some “issues” without being a true “issues book” AND you want to giggle and swoon the whole time you’re reading… look no further. Wanderlost is that book.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
Do you like road trip books as much as I do?
Do they make you want to run away? (Even if for just a little while?)