Wanderlost by Jen Malone

51gThngs+JLAubree doesn’t need to see the rest of the world, not when her home is the only place she could ever imagine being. She also isn’t the most put together seventeen year old in the world. Her older sister, Elizabeth, on the other hand, has it all planned out—every last detail of her life jotted down and color coordinated, especially the upcoming senior citizen’s bus tour she will be leading across Europe.

But, when Elizabeth gets into some trouble (on Aubree’s behalf) and can’t leave the country, her entire life’s work might as well be ruined. The only solution is to send Aubree in Elizabeth’s place and make sure no one knows the switch ever happened.

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree sure as hell is.

Aubree’s journey for love, friendship and self-discovery will inspire you to put down the worry and the world, and get lost.

I have a bug. A really, really bad bug. It sits just at the base of my diaphragm, and everyday it pokes it’s head out and asks for a bit of adventure.

Recently, I haven’t been able to feed it.

The second I put this book down, it was jumping for joy, pleading with me to spend all of my savings on a ticket to Iceland, and to give college my biggest middle finger. Of course, I didn’t do that, otherwise this blog post would be far more entertaining. Instead, I reminded my Adventure Bug (A.B., for short) that, just like Aubree, we will have our time.

One of the things I found endearing about this book was the style in which it was written. In the limited list of authors I’ve read, I can really only compare Jen Malone’s writing style to Jennifer L. Armentrout’s (whom I have talked about in excess on this site). (Also, this is the first and only book I have read of Jen Malone’s, so this may not be how all of her writing is, it’s just how I read this book.)

She writes with a sense of how Aubree is thinking and reacting to the people around her. In Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books, this wore on my nerves—the constant inner monologuing. But, with Wanderlost being a book focused on self-discovery, I think it was important that those inner thoughts keep coming up.

If I had to compare this book to any movie, I’d say it was a teenage girl’s version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (that’s my favorite movie, by the way). If you take the soundtrack of that movie and put it over this book, (and maybe morph the lyrics to be a bit more romantic and dramatic) it would fit perfectly. That’s something I really appreciated about this book—it understood it’s genre, it melded to a lot of the expectations of being a contemporary YA novel, but it let the characters grow without any sort of constraint.

But what I love most is that this book asks you to leave. More than asks, it begs you to go and get lost for a little bit. Whether that be somewhere physically foreign or the pages of a book is of your own volition. And, as this book asks you to go, I do too.


Do something dumb.

Get lost for a bit.

If not now, when?


-Alexandra Eckelbarger


If you have read this book and would like to hear more of my thoughts in all it’s spoiler-y detail, click the video linked down below. 




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