Wanderlost by Jen Malone
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: e-ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Rating:

Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble

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.

Quick Thoughts and Rating: 5 stars! Wanderlost was the journey of one girl who took a trip across the ocean to save her sister’s career, but found herself and love there instead. With a protagonist that made me smile and a hero that had me swooning, I laughed and flailed made my way through this adventure that had my heart pitter-pattering and left a smile on my face.

♥ Review: As I’ve said in reviews before, the easiest way for me to fall in love with your book is to make me fall in love with your characters, and I knew from early on that I would adore the ones found here. I think everyone has been an Aubree Sadler at some point, content to stay at home and the thought of stepping outside of our little shell of comfort seems overwhelming and terrifying. So, seeing as that trait made her easily relatable, I quickly found myself sympathizing and connecting with her character even though part of me wanted to give her a little nudge to just enjoy the experience a time or two also. But it was seeing where her character started and seeing her blossom and find herself through her whole journey—externally through her travels and internally finding her truest self—that had me applauding like crazy. Probably the biggest aids in her self-discovery though were the senior citizens she was a guide for and (*le sigh*) Sam. The elders of the group were all a wide range of interesting characters with life stories to make them fleshed out and personalities that had them leaping off of the page. I truly adored them all, even though there was a certain Texan I would have loved to give a good, stern talking to once or twice. Which leaves last but certainly not least, Sam, who was a walking, talking bundle of swoons and good humor. I know I’ve been known to exclaim my love for a book boy once or twice (or a couple thousands), but I truly, genuinely fell in love with him.

Which leads me to the romance, because if I fell for him, you can guarantee that Aubree did as well. Their relationship had me giggling and flailing from the beginning, when their only interactions were through phone conversations and you could tell even then through their banter that the chemistry was already simmering. Then when he showed up, flagging the bus down, and my stomach dropped and then fluttered like crazy, I knew this was a romance I was one hundred percent on board with and I couldn’t wait for more. As their journey continued throughout different European locations, their relationship naturally progressed until I was sporting the hugest grin and clutching at my heart because of all the cuteness that I was being forced to endure at the hand of the mighty author who had me gushing about these two. It was adorable, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Then, as if the characters and the romance weren’t enough to have me carrying a torch for this book, the author had the most amazing backdrop that had me lusting for time away from the US, crowded on a bus with a bunch of the elderly, and touring several European hotspots. There was enough about each place that I could picture it easily without never having set foot there, all while not weighing down the text. It only made the story come more alive and as I visualized each new location, it only made me wish more that I could see it in person instead of just in my mind or on paper. The setting was like a character itself, and I fell for it just as easily as I did Sam. The wanderlust bug bit me hard after this read.

If there were any drawbacks about this book, it would be the predictability of how this whole scheme would ultimately blow up in Aubree’s face, especially because her sister wouldn’t be around on the continent anywhere to shoulder the brunt of the blame. That said, I really appreciated that Ms. Malone kept the drama to a minimum and the resolution was quick to follow. Often times, I think other authors would have dragged the issue out longer than necessary, but I was pretty pleased that it wasn’t one of those books where the couple had to split to find themselves back together much later. However, I can’t deny that I wouldn’t have loved an epilogue to see how they were once they got back to the states months or maybe even a year later.

Overall, I’d have to say Wanderlost was cotton candy levels of sweetness! If you’re in the mood for something light or just generally love fluffy cuteness that feels like all your favorite things sprinkled in glitter (much like myself), then get on this book! Sam just became one of my new book boyfriends (easily one of my top ones of this year), and I’m sure he’d love to join your team, too!

♥ Teaser Quote: I have far too many highlights on my kindle to choose from…

     “Who cares what gave it away,” Sam murmurs, stepping close and gently backing me against the wall outside the theater. He takes my other hand in his too. “Cat’s out of the bag, so now I can do this any time I want. Which has basically been every second of this day.”
     Stepping in, he places his lips on mine and steals my breath. Even as my eyes close, I can still sense the flickering gas lamps on the street corner. I hear the soft strums of guitar music from a street café a little ways off and feel the uneven cobblestones under my sandals. This place is magical. All of it.”
~quote taken from the eARC of Wanderlost at 63%

Book Rating Breakdown
Cover
Writing
Characters
Plot
Pacing
Swoons
General Book Feels
Cute, Fuzzies, Flutters
Overall:

♥ Rec It? Absolutely! The mark of a great book is when I’m pimping it to people long before I even reach the last page, and that was definitely the case with Wanderlost. I believe I started texting my bookish friends and singing its praises on twitter somewhere around the 10% mark. I loved the characters and this book as a whole. I can say this with absolute certainty: this won’t be the last novel I read from Jen Malone.

♥ A very special thanks to HarperTEEN and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced copy of this title.

*Disclaimer: An eARC of these title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.

I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥

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