Wanderlost by Jen Malone // Not-so travelling around Europe



by Jen Malone

ebook, 352 pages

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. A romantic and charming YA debut perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Jenny Han.

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.


Wanderlost has piqued my interest ever since it was first released, with it’s promise of fake identity, romance, and travel throughout Europe. I always love Europe and dream of exploring it one day, so this sounds perfect! Furthermore, everyone I followed seemed to really enjoy this book, calling it cute and giving them serious case of wanderlust so I’m determined to read it this year.

Unfortunately, this ended up being a really hard book to read. I hate the main character, Aubree, which is hard to get over with since she narrated the story and we see everything from her perspective. The story began with her having a party in her house, which was busted by the police and her perfect sister, Elizabeth, tried to talk with the cop and save her. Except, she ended up getting arrested and Aubree had to pose as Elizabeth instead to save her future.

The problem is, Aubree is the literal baby of the family. The one who’s everyone fussed over, never live outside her town and never take any responsibility. She idolizes Elizabeth and wants to gain her respect, but never actually do anything to achieve it. Even during this trip and after, it didn’t seem like her character has any growth. It was Aubree’s mess that got her into this situation in the first place, and yet it seems like she never realized it. She’s really petty in a bad way, holding information and barely communicating with Elizabeth that if this book is more realistic it will land Elizabeth in HUGE problem permanently. One character in the book who knew her identity urge her to come clean to Sam and “owning up to her mistake”, but when she’s coming clean she always mentioned something along the line of “Elizabeth got arrested for some reason”. Like girl, she got arrested because of you!!! She’s not owning up at all.

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Fortunately, the rest of the cast are soooo much better that I stuck with the book. Of course we have our charming romantic interest, Sam, with his easy smile and funny personality. With mature, attentive, and caring personality! He’s basically perfect and the romance IS really cute. The senior citizens really stood out from the page, each with their own personality and own brand of wisdom. Hank and Maisie, our old citizens who hilariously care more about each other with their non-stop make out session. Mary and Emma, two best friends who have lived a whole life together and being REALLY adventurous and lovely throughout the trip. Mr. Fenton, with his gentlemanly attitude and softness. And Dolores, with her quiet that held more inside. It was truly a pleasure to “travel together” and learn more about them. The ending cuts really quickly though, so we didn’t really know how the issue is resolved back in the states.

Another complain is that we didn’t get as much Europe as I have expected. Sure, the setting was in Europe but the description was pretty basic? Canals in Venice, cobblestone in Prague, etc. I mean, at least the author could describe one attraction instead on focusing on Aubree so much. We did not get enough description of setting that will immerse us and well, basically add to the ~romantic~ atmosphere. The fact that most of the description are their trips for one country to another means that this book could set in some local road trip and the story wouldn’t change much. 

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Wanderlust is a book filled with perfect love interest, super cute romance, and unforgettable senior citizens that make you wish you join a senior tour. Unfortunately, the main character really did not care for and I don’t feel we get enough Europe- which really disappoints me as I expect to be immersed in the setting! Many people do enjoyed this book, however it didn’t work for me.


3 thoughts on “Wanderlost by Jen Malone // Not-so travelling around Europe

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