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

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,592 Ratings  ·  209 Reviews
 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
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Avery
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Robbins Library
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jenny-recommends
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.
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jenna Casey
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved loved loved this book. Read it straight through. Laughed, cried. Can't wait to read more from these two.
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
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!
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.

Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.

Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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 ***
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Apr 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: coming-of-age
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.
Rayna  (Poindextrix)
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was delightful. Fun, friendship, travel, and early twenties ridiculousness, all wrapped up in epistolary packaging.
May 08, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Full review at:

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
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Dec 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jun 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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, ...more
Emma-Kate Schaake
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
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 ...more
Lisa Lewis
Apr 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
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 ...more
Gina Alward
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
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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Half-Chinese, Half-Jewish American living in London. Graduate of Brown University. Big fan of dogs, coconut smoothies and traveling.

Co-author of GRADUATES IN WONDERLAND, a memoir about living in Beijing, Paris, Melbourne and New York. Out now!
“I know so much is going to happen here, but I just don't know how. It feels like Paris is full of so many adventures just waiting to be had.” 7 likes
“You won’t be able to do this ten years from now—just leave everything behind and go.” 6 likes
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