Wanderlost by Jen Malone
Published by HarperTeen
Published on May 31st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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.
Well, now I just really want to watch The Sound of Music…
I know I may have mentioned before that I am weird/insanely picky about YA contemporary novels. So something has to strike my fancy in order for me to give it a chance. In this case, it was the traveling to European countries with a bunch of senior citizens.
Aubree is likable enough. She is the baby of the family, and by baby I mean seems to be waited on hand and foot by her overprotective mother and has never experienced life outside of her dull hometown. Her older sister Elizabeth is more educated and worldly, and actually has some type of plan for her future. Aubree is more like, wingin’ it at life. So shit hits the fan and Aubree has to take on some big responsibilities that are way out of her comfort zone or experience.
Honestly, the things that go down in this book are pretty far-fetched. Especially where traveling abroad with someone else’s identity while only 17 years old is concerned. Way too easy. And the senior citizens were all oh so lovable, not a bad seed in the bunch. They were all the exact perfect mix of people you could hope for. Then during this trip, she of course meets a perfect, amazing guy that is hella swoon worthy without a flaw in sight. Like, there are problems here. This book is not without it’s flaws.
BUT – it is totally adorable. The characters are funny. Like, every single one (at some point or another) had me laughing. The places they visited were described so clearly that my wanderlust grew and grew as I turned the pages. There was even a sad moment or two. I definitely teared up. And it is filled with plenty of Sound of Music moments for me to enjoy.
Most importantly, we were able to watch Aubree grow into what could become an adult – with dreams and goals – and it was heartwarming. As she got to have this amazing experience she was also forced to face things about life she had never had too, and it taught her something about herself. While there was the boy and the romance, the book didn’t end with me feeling like that was the most important aspect of the story. Wanderlust was not only about finding love, but also about finding yourself.
This is sure to be a huge hit with YA contemporary lovers!