Aubree Sadler 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, Bree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe. Never mind that Aubree has never left the country, or that the tour company still thinks they’re getting exceptional Elizabeth and not trainwreck Bree. 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 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. Bree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes what she sees.
Well, books clearly are your answer. And traveling across Europe (though in a book) is a great idea of a vacation. And WANDERLOST contains a group of senior citizens, a case of impersonating another person (who knows all about the scheme), and a romance against the backdrop of Europe. YA Contemporary Romance, WANDERLOST is the perfect fit for those stuck indoors for the rest of the (hot!) summer season.
Let's start with the conflict of the story. Somehow, Aubree's sister, Elizabeth, manages to get Aubree into impersonating her. Pretending to be someone else in another country, Aubree has to dodge all those bullets and prevent anyone from finding out the truly terrible thing Aubree is doing for her sister. Of course, naturally, it all fails spectacularly (and a bit amusingly too). But the dramatic tension of Aubree and the secret's impeding reveal is exactly what gets me into the story and keeps me reading. When will they find out? What will happen? How would they survive the aftermath?
You may find it surprising that though the romance is front and center in the story, I'm far more interested in Aubree's relationship with the seniors and especially this: her relationship with her sister, Aubree. They have their severe ups and downs, and their relationship is cluttered with complicity and ambiguousness. Elizabeth's interpretation of Aubree's character is so much different than what Aubree thinks; Aubree and Elizabeth are two far different people yet they are siblings and their dynamic with each other is absolutely fascinating to watch. It's far more interesting than the romance, as I have said before.
Aubree is a stellar character. She isn't strong in the typical way, and she is so likable (especially when compared to her sister, Elizabeth, who is quite unique and tough in her own way). In Europe, she discovers herself and comes out of her sister's shadow.
The ending is a bit unrealistic, but for a romantic like me, I absolutely love it. Everything ends cleanly, Elizabeth and Aubree's relationship improves, and well... Aubree does get the guy. (So for those looking for HEA, here's one right here.)
Overall, WANDERLOST is a perfect summer novel that can easily make me forget about California's excessive heat while taking me across Europe with a well-developed cast of characters. For those who love romance, this is a good book to read.
Rating: Three out of Five
It seemed like whatever could go wrong, went wrong for her at the beginning. She lost her phone and the itinerary her sister made her on the plane, her driver didn’t speak English and she spoke only English, and the mother of the company’s owner was a part of her tour. She could have easily given in and confessed to everything and I wouldn’t have blamed her. First time away from home, first time in another country, and she was so alone. But she kept finding ways to pull through for the people depending on her.
I ended up liking her flirtation with Sam more when it was over the phone than when he showed up. Over the phone was harmless but in person, with her feelings growing, it was a little hard to really get into knowing that she was lying to him. She kept having to feed him half-truths about her life since he thought she was her sister, and also a few years older.
The plot was mostly pushed by Aubree’s growth. She went from being someone who wasn’t willing to try new things, to travel, to go too far from home, to someone who was confident leading a tour in another country. The senior citizens that made up Aubree’s group were a great supporting cast and made me feel like I would definitely want to be a part of their tour. It was a pretty light read and would make a good choice for a beach read or a travel book.