Friday, January 13, 2017

Wanderlost by Jen Malone

Wanderlost by Jen Malone
Release Date -  May 31, 2016
Publisher Website - HarperCollins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 5/5

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Sometimes everything about a book - its characters, plot, writing - all come together to be exactly the book you need to read at just the right moment. Wanderlost was one of these books for me. Jen Malone crafted a charming, and immensely readable story of travel, romance and growing up. Wanderlost captures something special in book form and provides laughs, swoons, and inspiration in the process.

Aubree is a sheltered, and often overly dependent on others. She hasn't had the desire or opportunity to step outside her comfort zone. The idea of having to deal with the unfamiliar makes her uncomfortable at first. The heart of this novel is seeing Aubree come into her own and begin to discover the young woman she'll grow into. Her journey isn't just about romance, but about finding her own worth, and starting down her own path. The novel advocates going out of your comfort zone, and not underestimating yourself. It celebrates the confidence that is earned when you discover something about yourself you didn't realize before, and the growth that comes from testing yourself. There is real growth to her character, and her journey is something I feel will resonate with everyone in some way.

The side characters are a delight. The tour participants are such bright, vibrant personalities. They are used for the perfect amount of humour, with some surprisingly touching moments woven in. They will charm you as much as they do Aubree and help make the story even more of a pleasure to read.

Fans of banter filled romance will find much to love about Sam and Aubree's relationship. Their early interactions are giggle inducing and filled with some of the best banter I've read recently. Their chemistry, even over the phone, is palpable. It'll make you want to have a phone flirtation of your own, complete with adorable inside jokes (#ILikeYouBye).

Travel is a huge part of this story. Prepare yourself to be plagued with the desire to hop on a plane going anywhere after finishing this one. You'll want to map out your own itinerary and recreate some of your favourite movie moments while discovering new and unfamiliar places. The cities visited are used as a breathtaking backdrop to Aubree's journey but they add a little extra sparkle to an already wonderful story.

The ending of this novel is pitch perfect. It doesn't lose sight of what this story is really about and makes the ending not just about the romance, but about Aubree's personal journey. It's the perfect punctuation on a delightful story. It reaffirms the message of growth and taking chances while igniting your own desire to venture into the great unknown.

A story that will undoubtedly ignite your own wanderlust and leave you with a gigantic smile on your face from the sheer cuteness of this story and the romance. It's a perfect read to lift your spirits and chase away some of the winter blues.

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