Monday, January 16, 2017

YA Book Pick: WANDERLOST by Jen Malone

Once a month, we choose an outstanding YA book to review. We want to spotlight books of interest to aspiring writers, as well as highlight some of our favorite books and authors!

This month's book pick is WANDERLOST by Jen Malone.

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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.

First Line: "I'm wedged into the pantry, between forty-seven rolls of toilet paper and an industrial-sized box of Raisin Bran." 

This line does a good job of setting the tone for the rest of the book—funny and intriguing! Why is the narrator stuck in the pantry? What kind of person buys toilet paper in  >47 roll quantities?

Highlights: There were so many highlights in this book! First of all, the main character is endearing and likable. I winced in sympathy throughout the first few chapters as Aubree's life went horribly wrong. I desperately wanted her to redeem herself—and I cheered when she did.

The romance was great. There was enough character development for the love interest so you understood why she'd fall for him, but it never felt like insta-love. Finally, the book was so funny! The elderly tour guests especially were hilarious.

Notes for Writers: One of the best things about this book is its amazing scene descriptions. You can see Amsterdam, or Salzburg, or Monte Carlo in your mind's eye as the action unfolds. If you want to improve your setting descriptions, this is an excellent book to study.

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