Book Review

Can I Go Backpack Through Europe Now? – Wanderlost by Jen Malone {Book Review}

Wanderlost by Jen MaloneTitle: Wanderlost
Author: Jen Malone
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date:  May 31st, 2016
Standalone/Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Goodreads link

My rating in stars: 4 stars
My rating in words: I really liked it

What it’s about:

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.

My thoughts:

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?”

Honestly, once I got over the kind of ridiculous and far-fetched plot-line (and that was fairly quickly), I ended up really loving this book. I finished it in a day because I just could not tear myself away from it. Yes, it has its flaws, but it also has sooo many things going for it:

An adorable heroine with amazing character growth. Aubree is a bit naive and immature in the beginning of the story, but she’s always fun and relatable. She gets herself stuck into a lot of really awkward situations which made me cringe in empathy, but the way she handles herself and grows throughout the story is just beautiful.

Wanderlust. All the wanderlust. All I could think of while reading this book was ‘I want to be on this tour’. I don’t care if it was with a fairly incompetent tour guide and a few senior citizens, I just wanted to go on a tour though Europe. I wanted to see all the sights then and I still have some major wanderlust right now. Amsterdam, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, Venice, Cinque Terre, Monaco, … It was all described so beautifully, with a few interesting tidbits here and there and now I just really want to see it all myself!

The senior citizens. Oh my, they were so funny and cute and hilarious! I really loved how each and every one of them felt like a real person and none of them were the sterotypical ‘sweet grandma’ or ‘grumpy grandpa’. It was so nice to read how Aubree was bonding with them all during the trip. They really made the book stand out in my opinion.

Sam. Can I just say he has become one of my favorite love interests of all-time? He just had the most amazing personality and humor. I especially loved how he and Aubree got to know each other over the phone first of all and I was so looking forward to read their daily phone flirting sessions. When they finally met in person, I was worried that the chemistry would decrease, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sam’s a real charmer and it was super easy to see how Aubree could fall for him.

Sister love. Aubree and Elizabeth definitely don’t have the most perfect sister-relationship, but I thought it felt very real throughout the entire book. They definitely helped eachother grow and in turn, their relationship was strengthened as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to everyone looking for a fun, summery travel contemporary. Sure, some of the situations are a little far-fetched, but I felt like this was easily forgotten because the story was just filled with so much fun, humor, romance and amazingly beautiful places.

Favorite quotes:

The hint of laughter is still in his voice as he says, “Nice ‘meeting’ you, Elizabeth. We’ll talk soon.” “Sure, okay. You too. Okay, then, loveyoubye.” I put the phone back in the cradle and then I pause as my words replay in my head. Oh God. I did not just tell a total stranger—my employer, no less—that I loved him. Did not. I roll over and scream into the sheets of my bed.

“Okay, talk then. Oh, and Elizabeth?” “Yeah?” “Likeyoubye.” His laugh is warm in my ear as I hang up the phone.

“Um, did you just call me Dimples?” “Of course. If we’re all in with this, we need terms of endearment. You’re Dimples because it’s possible I snuck a peek at the copy of your passport we have on file. I’m all for instalove, but I really do need a visual before committing totally. FYI: your dimples are adorable.” Oh good God. Of course he means Elizabeth’s dimples are adorable. I have a dimple. Singular. Not like it matters because Sam can’t see me, but . . . He’s still talking. “What do you want to call me? I came up with a few suggestions for you to choose from. Number one: Your Highness. If that doesn’t work, I’m also amenable to: My One True Hero, Captain Amazing, or, while we’re on the captain theme, Oh Captain, My Captain. Your pick.”

For seventeen years, I’ve been perfectly content in my little corner of Ohio and, even when my friends were making plans to go off to faraway colleges, I had no desire to go with them. I felt like I had already found somewhere I truly knew could make me happy forever, so what was the point of leaving? And I still feel that way about my home. I do. 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?

Have you read Wanderlust? What did you think about it?


  1. Oh I’ve been wanting to read this one for what seems life forever now so I’m glad you liked it! Maybe one day my library will get a copy,

    1. I definitely liked and recommend this one, it was so much fun! Hope you’ll get to read it soon 🙂

  2. I’ve fully intended to read this one for a long time now, and seeing this review makes me all the more curious. Clearly moving this one up on my TBR should be a priority. 🙂

    …anytime the hero sound as good as you’ve described him to be, the book has “must read” written all over it. 🙂

    Thanks so much for the fab review – and for the Finding Wonderland visit.

    1. I would definitely recommend this one! And yes, I absolutely adored the main hero, Sam, so much. I’d definitely say he makes the book a must read 😉

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