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.
I’m not 100% sure what it was about this book, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Possibly the first issue I found with it was the boy on the cover did not match the description of the boy in the novel (I don’t see any curly hair on our cover model…) I don’t know who that boy on the cover is, but it definitely was not Sam.
And I was constantly annoyed with Aubree… or is she Elizabeth…. or Lizzie? I felt like she let the lie of who she was go on for way too long and she had so many opportunities to tell the truth.
The old folk were probably the best part of this book, especially Mr. Fenton and Bento. I have no idea what Bento was saying in Spanish, but I think that’s what made me like him so much.
I didn’t start to enjoy this book until 75% of the way through. I think that’s when we start to see Aubree begin to mature. Part of me could relate to her, being terrified of going to a new country and eating new food, but I also thought she was being a tad overdramatic most of the time.
The rating I gave this book was probably the lowest of any book I read this year, but I think that’s only due to the content being for the younger crowd. I could see someone in their early teens really enjoying this book, but as a 27 year old, it wasn’t up to my standards of what makes a YA book good.
With that said, I think Malone did do a good job of describing the European cities that Aubree ventured through, that was the one thing that saved this book from getting a one star (other than the Mr. Fenton plot, loved his character).
Oh, wait. I don’t have summer vacations anymore! Well, I at least went on two wild adventures to new places and I thought I would do a fun little blog on my trips this year. I hope you enjoy! I’ll have a book blog up next week, I promise! I just really wanted to post about these trips.
My first trip led me to Germany, it was a spur of the moment trip (thanks to my wonderful in-laws), one of those living-in-the-moment times. I managed to get out of work for 11 days (unpaid, boooo) and hop on a plane to venture out of the US for the first time ever. My husband was over there for a week prior to this with some of his students and he had no clue that I was coming over. We discussed me ditching work though, and how much fun it would be for him to show me the country but never thought it would actually happen. My in-laws were already planning on going over and offered to bring me with them, so I packed my bags and joined them.
We flew out over night and I didn’t sleep at all on the plane (not even after I took a sleeping pill) because I was too excited. I’m also not a great flyer unless I have a window seat, and lucky me got stuck in the very center of the plane, so I couldn’t even get up to use the restroom because I didn’t want to wake up the people next to me.
When we landed in Frankfurt at 9AM their time, and it was already overwhelming. We had to go buy a train ticket (I actually saved some money by being under the age of 26) and then hop on the train to the town of Hannover where my husband was staying with some of the in-laws friends, at this point he still didn’t know I was coming. I sent him a few texts talking about how I really wanted to come over there and he was so bummed that I wasn’t.
I loved passing through all the small little towns while on the train. It was about a three hour ride and I still hadn’t slept because of all the adrenaline. I also had it in my head that I would never see those sights again, so I wanted to spend the least amount of time sleeping.
As our train pulled into the station, I thought I was going to get sick from excitement. You know how dogs work themselves up after missing their human for a long time and then proceed to vomit? Yeah, I’m the dog in that situation. I could see Stu waiting on the platform, but he couldn’t see me. My in-laws got off first, and then me, I’m pretty sure my husband still didn’t believe it was me when I got off the train. We hugged and he kept asking how I managed to get there, and so on.
Hannover was beautiful! The food was amazing too (this was one thing I was worried about because I’m a picky eater). I even found a beer that I liked, sadly, I never got the name of it. If I had to pick a city to live in over there, it would be Hannover. Though everyone having security shutters was a bit unsettling. While in Hannover, we went to a few cool places just outside the city. We visited a castle (not old, it was built for show) and went to the town of Hamel where one of the German fairy tales originated (boom, tying this post into my book blogging), and saw some really cool churches. This town tied for my favorite city we visited there.
After we left Hannover, we jumped on a train to Berlin. I had huge expectations for Berlin! I ended up not liking this town that much because it didn’t really feel safe, but I’m used to living in a country where most people have concealed carry and know how to protect. If you go to Berlin, two days is plenty if you don’t like cities. Go see the Brandenburg Gate (it will only take five minutes, not as cool as you think), go to the Wall and take a boat tour.
After a few days in Berlin, we headed to Erfert (I thought it was called the airport and didn’t know why we were going back to the airport). This was another one of my favorite cities and I wish we had explored here longer. We had a great view from our room, food was fantastic and the city was amazing. We took a Luther tour where the guide wore a monk outfit and told us Luther facts from the town and showed us key places in his life. We had a fantastic dinner at a outdoor cafe and almost saw Flogging Molly!
We then went to visit Wittenberg where Martin Luther preached and lived. We managed to tour his house and see the main church. You can say we spent 90% of the trip checking out churches, but of course being Lutherans we had to spend a day or two in his town. This was something I was really excited about seeing. If you plan on going, be sure to check what time the main church is open to the public and be sure not to carry your suitcases with you. They’re currently redoing the train stop for next years anniversary so we had to drag out bags about a mile and rent a locker at the Luther House.
The final leg of our trip led to a smaller town where we met up with some more family friends. Here, we pretty much relaxed and hung out. We did tour the Rothenburg ob der Tauber which was a old walled city that had tons of shops and yes, more churches. I can’t even tell you the names of some of the other places we checked out. We just hopped in the car and visited a ton of places that looked cool, this was one of my favorite pictures from that portion of the trip. Below us, is our group and a small farmers market.
If you ever get the chance to see another country, do it! Don’t let nerves or anything get in the way! I knew I would regret letting this opportunity pass me by and I’m so glad I went!