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Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults

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 Two best friends document their post-college lives in a hilarious, relatable, and powerfully honest epistolary memoir.   Fast friends since they met at Brown University during their freshman year, Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale vowed to keep in touch after their senior year through in-depth—and brutally honest—weekly e-mails. After graduation, Jess packs up everythin  Two best friends document their post-college lives in a hilarious, relatable, and powerfully honest epistolary memoir.   Fast friends since they met at Brown University during their freshman year, Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale vowed to keep in touch after their senior year through in-depth—and brutally honest—weekly e-mails. After graduation, Jess packs up everything she owns and moves to Beijing on a whim, while Rachel heads to New York to work for an art gallery and to figure out her love life. Each spends the next few years tumbling through adulthood and reinventing themselves in various countries, including France, China, and Australia. Through their messages from around the world, they swap tales of teaching classes of military men, running a magazine, and flirting in foreign languages, along with the hard stuff: from harrowing accidents to breakups and breakdowns. Reminiscent of Sloan Crosley’s essays and Lena Dunham’s Girls, Graduates in Wonderland is an intimate, no-holds-barred portrait of two young women as they embark upon adulthood.  Named one of Jennifer Weiner's Top Ten Beach Reads


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 Two best friends document their post-college lives in a hilarious, relatable, and powerfully honest epistolary memoir.   Fast friends since they met at Brown University during their freshman year, Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale vowed to keep in touch after their senior year through in-depth—and brutally honest—weekly e-mails. After graduation, Jess packs up everythin  Two best friends document their post-college lives in a hilarious, relatable, and powerfully honest epistolary memoir.   Fast friends since they met at Brown University during their freshman year, Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale vowed to keep in touch after their senior year through in-depth—and brutally honest—weekly e-mails. After graduation, Jess packs up everything she owns and moves to Beijing on a whim, while Rachel heads to New York to work for an art gallery and to figure out her love life. Each spends the next few years tumbling through adulthood and reinventing themselves in various countries, including France, China, and Australia. Through their messages from around the world, they swap tales of teaching classes of military men, running a magazine, and flirting in foreign languages, along with the hard stuff: from harrowing accidents to breakups and breakdowns. Reminiscent of Sloan Crosley’s essays and Lena Dunham’s Girls, Graduates in Wonderland is an intimate, no-holds-barred portrait of two young women as they embark upon adulthood.  Named one of Jennifer Weiner's Top Ten Beach Reads

30 review for Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robbins Library

    This exchange of e-mails between the two authors in their years after graduating from Brown is compulsively readable. They write about their social lives and careers in a balanced way, and recent graduates will relate strongly. Both authors are articulate, funny, and honest, and the reader can see wisdom developing from experience.

  2. 3 out of 5

    Tara

    This book should be considered MANDATORY reading for all 20-somethings and post-grads. As someone who is trying to figure out those post college years I related a lot to the voices of Jessica and Rachel. Jessica and Rachel are best friends from college and on the night of their graduation they make a pact to send an e-mail to each other once a week of a no-holds barred account of what's going on in their life. (I wish I would of thought of the same-thing when I graduated in college.) Jess takes This book should be considered MANDATORY reading for all 20-somethings and post-grads. As someone who is trying to figure out those post college years I related a lot to the voices of Jessica and Rachel. Jessica and Rachel are best friends from college and on the night of their graduation they make a pact to send an e-mail to each other once a week of a no-holds barred account of what's going on in their life. (I wish I would of thought of the same-thing when I graduated in college.) Jess takes off for Beijing and Rachel sets off to NY. Jess doesn't speak Mandarin or have a job but flies off to Beijing anyway. Rachel has a job at an art gallery in NYC. The adventures they get into, their jobs, the people they run into along the way really paint the picture of two 20-something girls finding their way in this world. They both are incredibly courageous and take incredible risks that I think at the time they didn't realize the enormity of those decisions. I don't want to spoil anything but you will laugh and cry in the best possibly way.It really is incredible considering the fact that they both lived so far away from each other for so long such as Jessica in China and Australia and Rachel in NYC and Paris that they were really able to maintain the closeness that they had in college. Over a 5-year span theses BFF's only saw each other twice. In there ever changing world of relocations, new jobs, grad schools, and boyfriends their friendship remained constant. I truly believe it is so important to maintain friendships because there are very few people in this world who know you the way your college friends do. There is nothing else like this book on the market. While growing up you always have a plan. For example, you go to high school and then you go to college and there's a lot of preparation that goes into the transition from high school senior to college freshman. But where is that preparation from college senior to post-grad? There really isn't any. This is the first time in our young adult lives where we have no idea what's next for us? It's a little terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Rachel and Jess capture these moments beautifully. I LOVE this book so much that I'm actually thinking about reading it again as I write this.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Greta

    First off: I LOVE THIS BOOK! This is the first time I've been comped a book and have whole-heartedly enjoyed it. Jess and Rachel's emails felt like conversations with my friends - not only because they were immediately perfectly characterized, but also because the things that they wondered about, or mistakes they made, or observations they had, was all stuff I wondered/did/thought too. I felt like my crazier moments were vindicated - other people worry about this too! - but also some of the ways First off: I LOVE THIS BOOK! This is the first time I've been comped a book and have whole-heartedly enjoyed it. Jess and Rachel's emails felt like conversations with my friends - not only because they were immediately perfectly characterized, but also because the things that they wondered about, or mistakes they made, or observations they had, was all stuff I wondered/did/thought too. I felt like my crazier moments were vindicated - other people worry about this too! - but also some of the ways I think about the world, and growing up, and all that adult stuff :) And for a book framed in casual emails, they do a remarkable job of evoking their settings - Beijing, New York, Malaysia, Paris, Australia, London, even Amarillo. And the descriptions of food. THE FOOD! I have never been more hungry for Chinese street food or pain au chocolat. Very artfully done. The only reason I didn't give this book 5/5 is because it isn't high literature, but it is a damn good read (funny, insightful, interesting, will make you want to eat Chinese food), and well worth your time, even if it won't make you a better person.

  4. 3 out of 5

    Milliebot

    Two best friends document their post college lives via honest, witty and sometimes very sad, emails. Jessica has moved to China on a whim, while Rachel tries to get into the art world in New York. They detail their goals, fears, love lives and more across the span of three years. I really enjoyed this book. Right off the bat it had me laughing. Jessica and Rachel are both very clever and despite this book having less detail than your average novel, I still felt totally immersed in their different Two best friends document their post college lives via honest, witty and sometimes very sad, emails. Jessica has moved to China on a whim, while Rachel tries to get into the art world in New York. They detail their goals, fears, love lives and more across the span of three years. I really enjoyed this book. Right off the bat it had me laughing. Jessica and Rachel are both very clever and despite this book having less detail than your average novel, I still felt totally immersed in their different worlds. Sometimes their worries and fears were so similar to my own it was depressing. Yet that made this book feel even more genuine. The fact that these two were willing to share their lives like this and keep me engrossed from page one was terrific. I'd recommend this book for older audiences. They do talk about their sex loves often - nothing graphic, but definitely mature. This would make a great beach or weekend read. It's quick to get through and a very enjoyable break from my constant fantasy reads. This was an ARC I won in exchange for an honest review. Cover says the book is due out in May!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    I almost can't believe that I'm giving such a fluffy book 4 stars, but it was such a fun and hilarious read. This book is a (mostly) non-fiction collection of emails from two best friends in the years immediately following college, and they are funny, candid, and witty. If you've ever been a young adult struggling to find your place in the world, or had a best friend who has been there for you through it all, I think you could relate. It's like the early-20s, less obnoxious, and more realistic v I almost can't believe that I'm giving such a fluffy book 4 stars, but it was such a fun and hilarious read. This book is a (mostly) non-fiction collection of emails from two best friends in the years immediately following college, and they are funny, candid, and witty. If you've ever been a young adult struggling to find your place in the world, or had a best friend who has been there for you through it all, I think you could relate. It's like the early-20s, less obnoxious, and more realistic version of Sex and the City.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Casey

    I loved loved loved this book. Read it straight through. Laughed, cried. Can't wait to read more from these two.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Abi

    Many months ago I was writing a review on another book from the "Books for Lost Twenty-somethings" category. Upon finishing that book, I was rejuvenated and able to continue the day to day process of life. Appreciating it for what it was from the perspective of that book. However, that fuel started to fizzle out (as I knew it would) and it became obvious that I needed something else. Enter Graduates in Wonderland. This book is written in the form of back-and-forth emails between friends - Jess and Many months ago I was writing a review on another book from the "Books for Lost Twenty-somethings" category. Upon finishing that book, I was rejuvenated and able to continue the day to day process of life. Appreciating it for what it was from the perspective of that book. However, that fuel started to fizzle out (as I knew it would) and it became obvious that I needed something else. Enter Graduates in Wonderland. This book is written in the form of back-and-forth emails between friends - Jess and Rachel - who have promised to keep in touch about their lives after graduating from college. Jess is living in fast-paced Beijing; learning Mandarin by day, eating noodles by night, and trying to break into the Journalism industry the rest of the time (and also trying to figure out where the gorgeous Brazilian god sleeping in her bed came from). Rachel, on the other hand, moved to New York to pursue a future in the art world while simultaneously trying to keep herself from falling apart with the help of her therapist and the prospects of going back to France. Along with trying to figure out the rest of their lives, they are both actively seeking The One...or at least, The One For Right Now. Filled with relatable moments of happiness, love, success, anxiety, and even crippling disappointment - Graduates in Wonderland proved to be a source of comfort as I begin my second year out of college. I found myself laughing at their wit, worrying with their fears, and celebrating their successes. Above all else, though, I found myself filled with hope. Something I have not had in a very long time - because if Jess and Rachel could change jobs, make friends, find love, and even uproot their lives to move to different continents - all whilst maintaining a sense of sanity and the stereotypical messy room of the average twenty-something - then I sure as hell can navigate these waters, too. I've found that so many books out there are written for the soon-to-be college grad (or the incoming college freshman) with nothing for those of us on the other side wondering what we're supposed to be doing now...where we're supposed to be going from here. But this one? This one is for us. For the wandering twenty-something minds too far in to be new - but not quite far enough along to be experts. Rach and Jess are proof enough that one day we'll all be able to settle down out of the dreamy dazed blur of Wonderland - that there is hope and possibility and opportunities to be had out there. Now you might be thinking to yourself: "Did she really get all of that from a 284 page book?" Yes. Yes I did.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I LOVED this book! I love books that give you a glimpse into another person's (or persons) life/lives, without getting too insanely detailed (which probably sounds weird). I loved the conversational nature of it. It actually reminded me of a book by one of my favorite authors, which - I believe - is a very high compliment. While I never went to college, or traveled all over the world, this book is a reminder that - despite the things that make us all so different - there are SO many things that I LOVED this book! I love books that give you a glimpse into another person's (or persons) life/lives, without getting too insanely detailed (which probably sounds weird). I loved the conversational nature of it. It actually reminded me of a book by one of my favorite authors, which - I believe - is a very high compliment. While I never went to college, or traveled all over the world, this book is a reminder that - despite the things that make us all so different - there are SO many things that are universal. That tie us together as humans. I felt a kinship with these two young women in their learning, and their awkwardness, and their humor. Reading this book made me want to be friends with them. I think they'd be a lot of fun to hang out with, and definitely worthwhile people to get to know on deeper levels as well. I would recommend this book definitely to women of all ages. I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. And am SO happy that I did! :)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Fun, epistolary telling of two college friends making their way in the world. One in New York & Paris and the other in China & Australia. Jessica and Rachel were friends from Brown University. After graduation they each make choices which take them to different corners of the globe. Keeping in touch through email, they share their lives, loves, occupation, break-ups and breakdowns. I really enjoyed it!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Meri

    It was really good to read this book. I am at a moment in my life where I don't know exactly what path to take and it was refreshing to read that I am actually not alone and that I am not the first - nor the last - to experience what I'm going through. Really inspirational, I loved it. Recommended to anyone who: - Feels lost and anxious about their future. - Someone who misses their friends while being abroad. - To have a bit of fun and read a good non-fiction story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Keri

    Where was this book a year ago. This is a must read for anyone who has graduated from college and is looking for the next step in their lives. This book is not only relatable but true, somewhat sad, and down right funny when it come to take life one day at a time. Also, this is one of the best memoir/autobiography/biography that I've read so far. I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I really loved this book. Most of the reason that I did like it was that I am also a recent college graduate going through many of the same things that they are going through, so I could really identify with the authors on many points. *** I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads ***

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    No review I write can do this justice. I graduated a few years ago and it felt like I was reading the journey of two of my friends. They were personable and honest. I would highly recommend this especially for young 20 some things trying to find their way after graduation. Thank you Jess and Rachel for taking us all on the journey with you.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I got to read the pre-release of this book through my job at Barnes and Noble and I really liked it! As a law student, I'm around the same age as these girls were when they wrote these emails and I felt like I could really relate to them. They were spastic, funny, spontaneous, conflicted, and all-around wonderful. I really recommend it for somebody looking for an easy feel-good read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Amazing! This book showed that it's okay not to have your life figured out right away and that you will make hundreds of mistakes. It was funny, and sad, and also horrifying at times. Definitely a must read for graduates, or anyone who wants to relive their twenty-somethings vicariously.

  16. 3 out of 5

    Kendal

    This is a book I wanted to read after I graduated over a year ago and just got to reading it. It’s written from the point of view of two recent college graduates, and I can really only give an opinion from this POV as well. It’s comforting to read people following their big dreams and and then changing and shaping them in to the reality they actually have to live in. These two friends are honest and open and it makes the reader feel very involved and invested in their futures, and as cheesy as i This is a book I wanted to read after I graduated over a year ago and just got to reading it. It’s written from the point of view of two recent college graduates, and I can really only give an opinion from this POV as well. It’s comforting to read people following their big dreams and and then changing and shaping them in to the reality they actually have to live in. These two friends are honest and open and it makes the reader feel very involved and invested in their futures, and as cheesy as it is, inspires the reader to do what’s best for their own future. It also definitely makes me want to email back and forth with my best friend so we can look back over the years and see how we’ve grown as people! If you’ve just recently graduated college, want to remember that time of your life or simply feel a bit lost on where your life is going, I’d definitely give this book a try!

  17. 3 out of 5

    Booktart

    This grew on me after a while. For most of it I found myself thinking "I'm too old for this." It's definitely ( as with many of these sorts of books) written from the point of view of two very privileged people - they went to Brown, have the opportunity to live abroad, etc. For those from that demographic and who have just graduated from college, I think it would be a useful and relatable read.

  18. 3 out of 5

    Rayna (Poindextrix)

    This was delightful. Fun, friendship, travel, and early twenties ridiculousness, all wrapped up in epistolary packaging.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Read this and other reviews at: Ampersand Read Blog Graduates in Wonderland follows Rachel and Jess, best friends from college, as they try to sort out careers, dating lives, and living situations in several different countries. Their situation and emotional turmoil feels very prescient to those of us who (ahem) have graduated college and are still (ahem) figuring things out. Not that any of us here have ANY idea what that is like. The two post-grads are supportive of each other, witty, and friend Read this and other reviews at: Ampersand Read Blog Graduates in Wonderland follows Rachel and Jess, best friends from college, as they try to sort out careers, dating lives, and living situations in several different countries. Their situation and emotional turmoil feels very prescient to those of us who (ahem) have graduated college and are still (ahem) figuring things out. Not that any of us here have ANY idea what that is like. The two post-grads are supportive of each other, witty, and friendly. They experience moments of confusion, joy, and turmoil together in a way that is very relateable and kind. And I think people years before or after their senior year of college can appreciate this friendship and these feelings. But, and far be it for me to condemn boy-craziness or stick up my nose at forever analyzing the complexities of love (I have a celebrity boyfriend board on Pinterest, for God’s sake), most of the e-mails these friends zip back and forth are about the boys they meet and what it means when he says that or does that, or why can’t I like him as much as he likes me? (and vice versa) Rachel and Jess spend a majority of their expansive e-mail relationship dwelling on these topics. In practice, hearing from your best friend gushing about her guy and asking questions about your love life can be nice. Wonderful, even. But it makes for a repetitive, sometimes cloying read. And far be it (again) for me to complain about complaining, but there is a lot of despairing about jobs that just don’t feel right and roommates with whom they aren’t very close with anymore. And again, I feel like a hypocrite because, uh, that’s what friends are for: to listen to you whine and complain and still love and support you at the end of the day. But the green envious monster in me goes, “You’re in China/Paris/Australia! STOP COMPLAINING!” Alas, no matter where you are there is something to complain about. But reading about it in several e-mails lost its appeal and relatability (a real word?) The utter confusion and lack of direction that these women experience is very easy to relate to. But this concept falls a bit flat: a book of hundreds of personal e-mails, detailing the sometimes repetitive road to finding yourself and figuring out who you’d like to be with comes off as a little pushy.

  20. 3 out of 5

    Harris

    Graduates in Wonderland was a witty, breezy, fun memoir by two talented and ambitious women in the early years of their post-college lives, heading out into the world, struggling to discover what it is they want to do with their talents, and having many adventures and misadventures along the way. Fortunately, Jess and Rachel, who met attending Brown University, forged a friendship that survived continents and pledged to email each other weekly to support and amuse each other. The use of emails b Graduates in Wonderland was a witty, breezy, fun memoir by two talented and ambitious women in the early years of their post-college lives, heading out into the world, struggling to discover what it is they want to do with their talents, and having many adventures and misadventures along the way. Fortunately, Jess and Rachel, who met attending Brown University, forged a friendship that survived continents and pledged to email each other weekly to support and amuse each other. The use of emails between the two friends living on the other side of planet from each other are the best feature of Graduates in Wonderland, as you can really see the esteem and affection that Jess and Rachel have for each other, helping each other through tough times (injuries, heartbreaks, confusion) and boosting the good ones (love, new jobs, great places to eat); also, it is such a medium of the period (which seems to be around 2008-2010 or so), a time when email was like the main online communication form, before video chatting really started taking off- these days, such a book may be impossible as no one saves their chat logs or texts. This makes it historical! There is a lot to identify with in Jess and Rachel’s clumsy search for romance, indecision on career and education choices, and those down times when they feel they made a wrong decision; feelings many of us certainly feel in that fuzzy time when one is trying to make their way in the world for the first time as an "almost adult." On the other hand, Jess and Rachel both really accomplished a lot, living in at least three countries each by the end of the book and snatching up prestigious gigs in Beijing, Paris, and London, working in glamorous fields and making it work. Of course, as Jess points out, "Getting what you want can be the worst sometimes." I know that's been true for me on occasion. However, the privilege of the two writers is never really brooked; an Ivy league education and a network (in fact, complaints about bumping into fellow Brown grads everywhere came up), having the wherewithal to drop everything to live in another country on a whim; many graduates I know were happy to score an entry level job in retail and an apartment closer to downtown. But then, maybe if I'd read this book, I would've taken some more risks!

  21. 3 out of 5

    Gayle

    Full review at: http://everydayiwritethebookblog.com/... Graduates in Wonderland is a modern day epistolary memoir consisting of email correspondence back and forth between Jess and Rachel, recent Brown graduates who are many thousands of miles apart but keeping their friendship alive and well online. Jess moves to China after graduation, somewhat impulsively, where she hangs out in the Beijing expat scene with another Brown classmate and finds work at a magazine. Rachel moves to NY, like many ot Full review at: http://everydayiwritethebookblog.com/... Graduates in Wonderland is a modern day epistolary memoir consisting of email correspondence back and forth between Jess and Rachel, recent Brown graduates who are many thousands of miles apart but keeping their friendship alive and well online. Jess moves to China after graduation, somewhat impulsively, where she hangs out in the Beijing expat scene with another Brown classmate and finds work at a magazine. Rachel moves to NY, like many others from her class, and works in a gallery for a self-absorbed boss who causes her so much anxiety that she needs therapy. Over the next few years, we follow Jess and Rachel’s professional and personal adventures. Rachel moves to Paris to pursue a master’s in film. Jess leaves a promising editing career to follow a boyfriend – again impulsively – to Australia. But the constant through all of this change is the honest, supportive relationship that Jess and Rachel maintain over email. They make reference to phone calls, but all the good stuff makes it into the emails. There’s classic twentysomething fare here – the sense that everyone else has a life, but you don’t; the paralyzing fear of making the wrong career choice; wondering if you’ve found The One, and if you’re ready for that; and the feeling of being adrift without a geographic home base. Add in the language barriers and physical distance inherent in living abroad, and it’s easy to see why Rachel and Jess’ friendship was so important to them. They were living similar lives, only many, many time zones apart. I enjoyed Graduates in Wonderland. The book really brought me back to my early 20s, when I was dealing with some of the same issues. A friend of mine recently presented me with a letter (!) I had written him in 1993 when he was living abroad after graduation. It was not dissimilar to the emails in Graduates in Wonderland. I just wish I had more of those letters – email was not widespread in the early 90s! I recommend Graduates in Wonderland to fans of epistolary memoirs and anyone who can relate to – and wants to re-experience – the uncertainty and excitement of starting out in the world.

  22. 3 out of 5

    Sophia

    I. Cried. So. Much. I didn't expect this book to be so fucking relatable. I put off reading it for a while because i was so busy. But when I finally sat down to read it... I couldn't stop. This is one of those books I just read at the right time in my life, ya feel? I thought that since I'm not technically looking for a real job that it wouldn't really have much to do with my life. Like I'm a graduate but am i reeeeally? Turns out that i actually am. I recently also graduated from undergrad and I. Cried. So. Much. I didn't expect this book to be so fucking relatable. I put off reading it for a while because i was so busy. But when I finally sat down to read it... I couldn't stop. This is one of those books I just read at the right time in my life, ya feel? I thought that since I'm not technically looking for a real job that it wouldn't really have much to do with my life. Like I'm a graduate but am i reeeeally? Turns out that i actually am. I recently also graduated from undergrad and packed up everything i own to move across the world. I also have no idea where I'm going or what I'm doing. The discussion of integration into a new culture and finding a place where you really feel like you belong really struck me. Like Rachel, i had dreams of living a larger than life kind of adventure when i was growing up and have had to learn how to find a balance. Like them, i also have had long distance email and text exchanges with close friends detailing every aspect of my life someplace else. And I've come to some of the same realizations. When I was 17, i wanted to pack everything I own into a backpack and sail across the world, making documentaries about polar bears and fighting the good fight to stop global warming, and constantly living in a new place, helping build houses in Africa, writing novels in French cafés right before i jaunt off to teach English in japan. I had so many dreams and this made me more directionless sometimes. But last week i was talking to my people about this too. About how the older i get, the more i think its okay to settle down and live in one place because every time you pack up and move its so exhasting. You're what's starting over. When i was young everything was about beginnings. But now that I'm in the middle part of my life, i guess, I'm much more concerned with quality and I'm much better at picking out the things that i REALLY care about... Instead of trying to do everything. The authors realized that they didn't have inexhaustible energy... And i realized too this year. They were the same age as me. I guess realizing that i dont have that much energy and that I don't want to endlessly start over really makes me start to think about what I want to do with my life. I keep telling people i moved to amsterdam on a whim, and sometimes it does feel like that... But i don't think it was that whimsical the more I think about it. I realized yesterday texting a friend in the states that this was anyways my dream and my goal. My friend always goes after the things she wants and I deeply admire her for that. She plans and schemes and she works tirelessly to make it happen. Her dreams are much more concrete and planned out so I never before looked at my actions and thought "yes this is my dream". Because I was too scared to. But now that I'm more removed i realize that i am working towards my goal. For as long as i can remember my goal has been to live in another country and to travel the world. For a while i kind of forgot about how important this was to me. And when i was applying to schools and thinking about jobs i wasnt really looking at the big picture because I didn't think I'd actually be able to land the states. I was like two people, one who fiercely planned deadlines and asked for letters of recommendation and another who didn't think I was actually moving despite the fact that I had 8 backup plans. But now i have to think about what I want to do long term. I know I could always meet someone like Oliver tomorrow and then I'd be in Australia. You never really know what's going to happen. But i also need to think, like Rachel, about where i want my home to be. People keep asking me how long i WANT to stay in amsterdam, like if I want to stay after my education. And I've never really thought about it. I've been so focused on living day to day and creating a routine. But i also think I can't keep living with this carefree attitude of trying to start my life completely over every year. My plan of going to southeast Asia is such complete bullshit escapism, and yet its not off the table. I might still decide to go one day. But i need to think about what I really want. And wanting to go to Asia is like wanting to major in art history. Its something i find interesting and compelling but don't have the time or energy to realistically do if i plan on doing the things i care about. In my head i keep equating countries to relationships... Because in a weird way they are. Sometimes you fall in love with the idea of a country, like me with Italy. Or you fall in love but it's just not compatible or its too much effort to make it work. This isn't the first city i fell in love with. But it feels like the best fit for me right now. The way I fell in love with amsterdam was by accident. And I think the reason i came to love it so much was because i started my stay here by delving under the surface. I wasn't interested in doing touristy things and i learned more about how real people here live. Its like meeting someone you really connect with at a party and skipping the small talk. You could argue that you could fall in love with *any* city. But just like people, it's about timing and circumstance. And like jess says in the book, its about imagining yourself with someone else but not being able to imagine yourself loving anyone else more. Sure, maybe i would also love Barcelona under different circumstances. But thats not how things played out. And because i love Amsterdam the way I do, i can never love Barcelona the same way. I thought it was so funny when she went to Australia because of my own sordid relationship with the continent. I literally screamed though! Maybe thats a little bit how i *initially* envisioned moving to europe (before it was an actual physical plan)... Which is why i wanted to go to Australia in the first place. But Jess' experiences with love made me have a lot of important realizations about my own life and i want. Also Josh. Josh and Oliver are two sides of the same lesson for me. These things tear me up but maybe they shouldnt. It doesnt really always matter why, ya know. At least thats what someone told me last night watching the dutch bachelor. At least ive ruled out living in australia once and for all. I really can't see myself living outside of europe. Anyway. Ive done a lot in 2017. Cheers to figuring my life out a little more in 2018 P.S I'm totally doing that list thing on xmas. Maybe the universe will bring me a present. Maybe I'm not ready for that kind of knowledge. To be figured out later

  23. 3 out of 5

    Paige

    I had found out about this book in the May issue of Cosmopolitan and ended up buying it as a graduation gift for myself (it seemed appropriate plus I had $5 in credit on Amazon and needed to use it soon). Words can't describe how much I loved this book! The fact that Rachel and Jess kept in contact (and are still in contact) with one another for three years was amazing. It reminded me of my best friend who moved to the other side of the U.S in the beginning of our senior year of high school but I had found out about this book in the May issue of Cosmopolitan and ended up buying it as a graduation gift for myself (it seemed appropriate plus I had $5 in credit on Amazon and needed to use it soon). Words can't describe how much I loved this book! The fact that Rachel and Jess kept in contact (and are still in contact) with one another for three years was amazing. It reminded me of my best friend who moved to the other side of the U.S in the beginning of our senior year of high school but we have kept in contact with each other through text, e-mail, facebook messaging and a few quick visits on her part. A friend from college and I have been inspired by this book and are planning on keeping in touch through e-mail just as Rachel and Jess did Rachel and Jess' adventures were incredible and they left me a bit envious but also inspired. I've always wanted to travel, especially to England, but I've felt like I'll never be able to do so; however, Rachel and Jess made it look like I could actually do it! Not only that but they experienced so much (sometimes good and sometimes bad) and because of those experiences they were able to grow (even if it was just a little bit). I highly recommend this book to everyone in their early twenties or who have just graduated from school as this book makes adulthood seem a little less scary.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I read this book because I liked the title and because I thought it might be similar to Rachel Friedman's _The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure_, which I enjoyed reading many years ago. And I guess that's part of what made the difference for me as a reader. The time, the place, the mood I'm in when I read matters. This book mostly made me painfully conscious of the power of privilege. Its authors went to Brown. They each re I read this book because I liked the title and because I thought it might be similar to Rachel Friedman's _The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure_, which I enjoyed reading many years ago. And I guess that's part of what made the difference for me as a reader. The time, the place, the mood I'm in when I read matters. This book mostly made me painfully conscious of the power of privilege. Its authors went to Brown. They each received the kind of education that enables one to find work as a journalist in a foreign country, to even begin mastering a language so as to qualify for grad school in France, and to benefit from a network of fellow alumni as friends, travel partners, and business connections. As a student and a reader with no such connections, I stiffened a bit while reading. I suppose the title of "Wonderland" was apt simply because the book felt both real and utterly impossible at the same time. Most memorable line: "Sometimes I think I really don't know what's best for me. Getting what you want can be the worst sometimes."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Can I be friends with Jessica and Rachel? I really want to be a part of this email friendship after reading this book. I could relate so much to them trying to find their way in life. I think anyone who is in college or just getting out will especially feel a strong connection to this book. Jessica and Rachel's lived aren't your average just out of college and are trying to find themselves while living in their parents basement stories. They are in places like China, Australia and Paris. They do Can I be friends with Jessica and Rachel? I really want to be a part of this email friendship after reading this book. I could relate so much to them trying to find their way in life. I think anyone who is in college or just getting out will especially feel a strong connection to this book. Jessica and Rachel's lived aren't your average just out of college and are trying to find themselves while living in their parents basement stories. They are in places like China, Australia and Paris. They do some globe trotting while working awful jobs, dating even more awful guys but manage to send very entertaining emails to each other. Everyone needs to have a friend like Jessica and Rachel in their lives. After reading this book I wish I had sent emails to my friends and had a history like theirs. I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

  26. 3 out of 5

    Heather

    I won this as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway and am so glad I did. I could relate to each writer and the emails definitely felt like I was reading a novel about my own life (except for the part about cigarette smoke, living in Australia, Paris, or London). But all the uncertainty about post-college life I could relate to. I am in the middle of it right now, and just like the writers at the end of the book, it has been three years since I graduated and I am still floundering in many ways and am I won this as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway and am so glad I did. I could relate to each writer and the emails definitely felt like I was reading a novel about my own life (except for the part about cigarette smoke, living in Australia, Paris, or London). But all the uncertainty about post-college life I could relate to. I am in the middle of it right now, and just like the writers at the end of the book, it has been three years since I graduated and I am still floundering in many ways and am still trying to find something to grip onto. I highly recommend this book. It's not just for graduates. Anyone who's ever doubted life decisions or has felt lonely after major life changes will relate to these writers.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    Great summer read for anyone who's recently graduated and trying to make it in this big, scary world. I enjoyed every single email these ladies had written and kept turning the pages to see what happened next! A wanderlust bug myself, I enjoyed seeing two people succeed abroad, that this notion of living life in different places is more than a pipe dream. While mostly the book made me hate my former homebody self, it also helped me realize that every decision I've made has led me to where I am, Great summer read for anyone who's recently graduated and trying to make it in this big, scary world. I enjoyed every single email these ladies had written and kept turning the pages to see what happened next! A wanderlust bug myself, I enjoyed seeing two people succeed abroad, that this notion of living life in different places is more than a pipe dream. While mostly the book made me hate my former homebody self, it also helped me realize that every decision I've made has led me to where I am, and that plans generally don't work out for us. I just finished this book tonight and started looking for English Ph.D. programs in London. Sadly, they don't seem to accept students who study AMERICAN literature. Great book, ladies! I envy your adventurous lives!

  28. 3 out of 5

    Emma-Kate Schaake

    I liked the idea of this more than I did in actuality. True to it's subhead, it is a memoir of a friendship between two friends and their email correspondence across the world in the years after graduation from college. I was between 3 and 4 stars with this, but only because I related to the wanderlust and uncertainty that occupy the space after college graduation. The first year was the strongest, but as book progressed, it became more about their sex lives than their personal discovery. Still I liked the idea of this more than I did in actuality. True to it's subhead, it is a memoir of a friendship between two friends and their email correspondence across the world in the years after graduation from college. I was between 3 and 4 stars with this, but only because I related to the wanderlust and uncertainty that occupy the space after college graduation. The first year was the strongest, but as book progressed, it became more about their sex lives than their personal discovery. Still an entertaining read, but I found it more difficult to sympathize with them when they continued to party and create drama for themselves with men.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Lisa Lewis

    A memoir of two friends, told through emails, who graduate from Brown and proceed to having fun international lives. At first I thought I couldn't really appreciate a story of two privileged white girls bopping around the world, but I grew to like them and become interested in their adventures. Then I got a little annoyed with how much of the story was boyfriend talk and how little was actually about their international adventures. But it was well-written, and they are presented as likable peopl A memoir of two friends, told through emails, who graduate from Brown and proceed to having fun international lives. At first I thought I couldn't really appreciate a story of two privileged white girls bopping around the world, but I grew to like them and become interested in their adventures. Then I got a little annoyed with how much of the story was boyfriend talk and how little was actually about their international adventures. But it was well-written, and they are presented as likable people, and in the end, I did enjoy it.

  30. 3 out of 5

    Gina Alward

    This book is perfect, especially for best friends who have gone their separate ways after university and are going through the struggle of staying in touch. For me, it made me feel a million times better reading how Rachel and Jess share their very different lives with one another, while still maintaining their incredibly strong friendship. You’ll be able to relate if you’re ever separated from one of your best friends.

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