About The Wonder of Us
Riya moved to Berlin, Germany, with her family for junior year, while Abby stayed behind in their small California town. They thought it would be easy to keep up their friendship—it’s only a year and they’ve been best friends since preschool. But instead, they ended up fighting and not being there for the other. So Riya proposes an epic adventure to fix their friendship. Two weeks, six countries, unimaginable fun. But two small catches:
They haven’t talked in weeks.
They’ve both been keeping secrets.
Can Riya and Abby find their way back to each other among lush countrysides and dazzling cities, or does growing up mean growing apart?
I worried that this story would be too light and cheesy for my taste, but I was so wrong. I loved the way the story of Riya and Abby’s friendship develops and unravels and their scrambling attempts to fix things. Though the girls are in late high school, the story is clean and sweet, definitely something to consider for younger teens just beginning their foray into young adult literature. Might be a good fit for someone who enjoyed the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or Sarah Dessen’s books.
The setting rotates through major European cities, which was another really fun element. I liked that both girls had such different personalities that they experienced the cities in different ways and valued different things about them. Those differences made it easy to see why their friendship was a challenge but also why it had been so rewarding to them.
The one element I struggled with was Abby’s relationship with her mom, who had recently divorced her dad. Abby clearly blames her mom and doesn’t find a lot of resolution in her relationship through the story. While I know that wasn’t the point of the book, I would have liked to see at least a little bit of hope there or a broadening in Abby’s understanding of her mom’s decisions.
On the whole, though, I enjoyed the story a lot and think it’s a great summer read.
Riya and her cousin Neel are Indian. Abby is white.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
A couple brief instances of British profanity.
A few brief kisses.
Neel and his friend order beer (they’re of age to drink). Riya and Abby go to some teen clubs where they drink soda.