Review: Wanderlost by Jen Malone

June 6, 2016 Review 32 ★★★

Review: Wanderlost by Jen Malone
Wanderlost by Jen Malone
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 352
Release Date: May 31st 2016
Genres: Europe, General, Girls & Women, New Experience, People & Places, Social Issues, Social Themes, Travel, Travel & Transportation, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
three-starsthree-starsthree-stars
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 received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“But now that I see all this and realize I couldn’t even have dreamed any of it because it was all so far off my radar, I have this weird uncomfortable twinge in my chest. Because…what else haven’t I bothered to dream, not thinking things could get any better?”

WANDERLOST first piqued my interest when I read the synopsis. A girl gets (roped into) tasked with leading a group of seniors on a European bus tour, possibly finding love along the way? It sounds like it has two things I love: travel and the promise of romance. But while WANDERLOST met some of my expectations, it fell short on others.

As our main character, Aubree says towards the beginning, “There’s no way this could work.” She’s right. Suspend your disbelief because all the things that go down to make this story possible are a little farfetched and/or too convenient. It makes the setup for the actual plot feel a little messy and awkward. There are even a few opportune time skips that glaze over what might disrupt the plot. However, once everything gets going, the book continues at a pretty good pace without faltering again.

“I’ve tried flying now. And flying and I will not be achieving bestie status.”

Aubree is somewhat childish, naive, and hesitant when we first meet her. Her parents do everything for her and she is extremely dependent. Once she’s out on her own, she finally starts to grow up and come out of her shell, with the encouragement from others. By the end of the book, it is clear she has come a long way,

Speaking of the other characters, I quite enjoyed the seniors that were on the bus tour as well as the love interest. It was interesting to see how everyone slowly developed friendships, and possibly more. The couple in WANDERLOST was pretty cute, although it fit with the rest of the book in being somewhat unbelievable. (Eleven days just seems like such a short period of time!)

“I may be a bona fide high school graduate of all of six days,
but there are times a girl needs her snuggly.”

Aubree’s narrative voice is somewhat unique, her thought process was easy to relate to, although I did occasionally struggle with her. I think I may have been able to connect with her more if I was closer to her in age.

The writing really lacked descriptors. It was mostly ‘this happened and then that happened.’ Case in point, when Aubree sees her hotel for the first time: “I knew the bus tour would be first class all the way, but wow. The lobby looks like something out of a movie.” Okay, but what does it look like? This is Europe that you could be describing right now. How does the lobby look like it’s from a movie? Does it just look like a clean Best Western or does it look like a resort in Dubai? For a novel that had so much potential when it came to discovering and describing locations, it missed the mark.

Overall, WANDERLOST was a fun read. I would recommend it to fans of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS who wouldn’t mind the lack of descriptions, the addition of some memorable senior citizens, and a little humor.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Romance
Overall: 3

32 Responses to “Review: Wanderlost by Jen Malone”

    • Alise

      Aubree does change, for whatever that is worth, haha. I would say this is a good, fun summer read though. Thanks!

  1. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I’ve been seeing this one around quite a bit recently^^ I like having a fun and quick read every so often – usually between heavier or feels-inducing reads LOL! Seriously, I NEED to catch up on my contemporaries….so I can read Anna and the French Kiss and then decide if I ought to give this one a go XD Glad you had fun with with Alise, despite the lack of descriptions and convenient storytelling. xx.
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Once Was A Time

    • Alise

      I know what you mean! I feel like there was a lot of YA fantasy this year so it’s nice to read something light for a change. Let me know what you think of Anna! Thanks :)

  2. Rabiah

    Oh damn, that’s sad about the lack of descriptions–when you choose interesting locations, PLEASE DESCRIBEEEE. And haha, I think I could totally relate to the protagonist here since I basically do depend on my parents for everything :P Hopefully it’s not too “insta-lovey” because I can’t stand that, but otherwise I’m really looking forward to reading this one! Great review :D
    Rabiah recently posted…The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

  3. Kelly

    This reminds me of the moving Driving Aphrodite I think it was called, with the woman from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, bit concerning that the cover models look around 14 though. It sounds like it would have had potential had it just been a fluffy holiday romance and more about the locations. Probably great for young teens looking for entertaining reads without depth. Sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this more Alise, but wonderful review lovely girl <3
    Kelly recently posted…Read It! Burn Bright

    • Alise

      Ahaha! I haven’t heard of that, I’ll have to check it out. I think you are onto something, because this was pretty farfetched at times. Thank you so much :)

  4. Romi

    I feel like this could have been such a readable contemporary, romantic sort of book, since the quotes you’ve shared are amusing and give me such a feeling that this would be a book to read and have rather fun times with, but I gather it’s not like that at all, from your review, which is such a dissappointment. I don’t think either of us favour the contemporary genre, primarily? So it’s always a let down when you do pick up a book in a genre you don’t tend to read and it’s a let down.

    I’m a little perplexed by how much of the plot here is something of a suspension of belief? I’m both intrigued and confused by that! *laughs* And it does make me feel as if it would have been a more enjoyable read if it had been speculative fiction or maybe urban fantasy?

    Great review, though, Alise! The quotes you chose were pretty great!
    Romi recently posted…A source of inspiraton: shifting boughs.

    • Alise

      I agree! Yeah, if you find the quotes funny then I think you would like the protagonist since she is somewhat easy to relate to. It definitely had fun parts but I couldn’t shake the “this would NEVER happen in real life” thing. Oh, by that I meant that it isn’t realistic to pretend to be your sister on an international job trip that your parents had no problem with.

  5. Jen Ryland

    I have this and was hoping to try it, but it’s very disappointing that there aren’t many descriptions – I was hoping for a vicarious trip to Europe.

  6. peach @ rebelle reads

    Omg I felt the same. Aubree was acting like she’d never been outside. Like, calm down. “A cheese shop??” It reminded me very much so of Anna and The French Kiss. Naiveté x1000. Also, airport security is intense and she was fumbling a lot, so that could never work. I really did like Sam, though.
    peach @ rebelle reads recently posted…Review: Wink Poppy Midnight

    • Alise

      Right? I was like where are these airport people working because they always seem to look like they hate you when you ask them a question xD Agreed, I liked Sam as well!

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