Not For Me: Wanderlost by Jen Malone

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.

Source: GoodReads

This was one of those books that I DNF’d that wasn’t exactly terrible, but at the same time it wasn’t good either.

Wanderlost had an interesting enough premises it sort of reminded me of a bit of My Life in Ruins which is actually a fairly cute little movie with the actress who was in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  However, it totally failed on execution.

I think a part of it was the opening scene in the novel, that got the MC into the predicament she was in.  After taking two bar exams that featured criminal procedure, it really gets to me when there is an obnoxious criminal investigation in a YA book.  Yes, I know they happen in real life but it was one of my pet peeves reading about it.  I just want to yell at the cop about how irresponsible they are and giving other fictional cops a bad name.

Le sigh.

Again, I knew the plot point was needed, but it started off the novel on a sour note for me.  It didn’t help that the main character, Aubree, was ridiculously immature as well.  I couldn’t stand her and even though I’m sure that there was supposed to be a character evolution of part in the novel, I didn’t care to sit around for it.  I think that’s one of the most difficult things about reading a character growth novel, while the MC is supposed to be obnoxious at first  they can’t be too obnoxious.  But creating that balance seems to be a difficult thing.

I thought I’d stick it out for the sight seeing, but the descriptions and encounters were vague at best and the book quickly started focusing on the romance aspect of the book that I couldn’t really care.

Like I said though, it wasn’t outright horrible.  I have read way worse things in YA.  It just didn’t hold my attention enough to finish it.  The main character was irresponsible and spoiled, and Europe didn’t even really play a supporting role in this story.

Even the romance was blah at best.

If you like cookie cutter stories without much depth and just a light little get away, this might work for you better than for me.  But for me, it didn’t hold my attention long enough.  I like fluff more than the next person, but I like substantive fluff.  This was more or less like a bad rom con that would air on the Hallmark station.  All the bones are there, but nothing is done to flesh the story out and make it wow worthy and with Aubree being as annoying as she was…DNF.

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