By: Jen Malone
Published Year: 2016
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Summary (Provided by 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.
I am so excited Jen Malone has come out with a YA novel! I had the chance to read her debut At Your Service which was a Middle Grade novel and I really enjoyed the story and the writing (review here). Also, how gorgeous is this cover? Does it not make you want to travel the world? As someone who has extreme wanderlust, I knew I needed to read this book after seeing the cover and reading the summary.
What I thought
This book was so cute and exactly what I needed to read right before my trip.
Aubree throws a party for her high school graduation when her parents weren’t home. Her older sister Elizabeth surprises her and comes home from college during the middle of the party. When the police show up, Elizabeth answers the door and gets herself arrested. As a result, Elizabeth is no longer going to be able to fulfill her duties as a tour guide over the summer for a tour company that is looking to support the congressman she is planning on working for in the fall. Elizabeth decides that Aubree owes her and that she should go as Elizabeth and be a tour guide. Aubree ends up going and the book shares the story of her experience as she finds herself during her travels.
Putting aside the slightly ridiculous premise that gets Aubree to Europe, I really enjoyed the story. Aubree is the baby sister and is seen as a baby and a klutz. Elizabeth has always been the perfect sister and has never had any trouble until this summer. Aubree has also never left home and has never had any desire to travel. While I don’t understand that sentiment, as I have always wanted to travel and live abroad, I did understand her nerves of traveling alone at 18.
Once Aubree gets to Europe, she has to lead a tour of 6 senior citizens over the course of 21 days across multiple countries; all while pretending to be her older sister. She immediately loses the binder full of information that her sister prepared for her and so she struggles her way through the tour. The one bright side is her nightly check-in calls with Sam from the tour company. They immediately start the cutest phone flirt and it is adorable. Sam is absolutely wonderful. He is definitely my latest book crush. He is nice and funny but he’s not perfect. I loved the way he treated Aubree (as Elizabeth) and the way she was around him as well.
One part I really related to with Aubree was that she was an extremely picky eater. I am a very picky eater, though I do love chicken so I am usually pretty good wherever I go. However, there aren’t many characters in books, especially in travel books, that are picky eaters. I think her pickiness was a bit extreme, as she was only eating at McDonald’s (and even I am more adventurous than that), but I loved that little quirk of hers and related to it.
By: Jen Malone