Review: Wanderlost by Jen Malone10:00
Author: Jen Malone
Published May 31st 2016 by HarperTeen
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.
I love reading contemporary books, especially in the summer, and when I first learnt about this book, it seemed like the perfect summer read. In Wanderlost, Aubree unintentionally gets her sister, Elizabeth, arrested, which throws a spanner in the works for Elizabeth's summer plans of leading a tour group of OAPs around Europe - something which is crucial to her future ambitions. To help our, Bree agrees to impersonate Elizabeth, and take her place as the tour guide, even though she knows nothing about Europe, or leading senior citizens. Her first few hours didn't go so well, and to top it all off, she finds herself falling for the kind and helpful voice on the end of the phone, someone who just happens to be the son of tour company's owner. When Sam turns up in Europe, Bree has a tough time being herself, when she's impersonating her sister.
When I read this book, I was in the middle of my final university exams, and needed something light and fluffy to get my head screwed on properly, and not stressed out. Bree was someone who I wish I was like, though some of her decisions needed perhaps a bit of though, before she went through with them. She had to fumble her way through the actual 'guiding' part of the trip, until one of the tourists stepped in to help. However, she learnt as she went along, and by the end of the tour, she was doing really well in her role.
I had some issues with the lies she was spreading, but I got why she had to do it. Hers and Sam's relationship was extremely cute, from the first quasi-meeting over the phone, to him actually turning up in Europe, and tagging along. They just felt real, and progressed at a natural pace, unlike some YA contemporary couples. Bree's sister, Elizabeth, I seriously disliked, as she was down on Bree all the time, as if she was some perfect person herself. I'm glad she wasn't a big character in the book, otherwise my feelings may have been different. The old folks were wonderful, exactly how I'd imagine a group on holiday in Europe.
Really, this book dropped through my letter box at the right moment, and took my mind off the pending exams perfectly. It made me look forward to my trip to Rome to celebrate graduation even more, and I'm looking forward to reading more from Malone in the future.