Author: Jen Malone
Genre: Young Adult (super YA)
Rating: 2/5 Stars
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).