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Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults [Kindle Edition]

Jessica Pan , Rachel Kapelke-Dale
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $9.01 (53%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

 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.

Editorial Reviews


One of Jennifer Weiner's Ten Best Beach Reads
—USA Weekend

"This book will take me back to those days when everything was possible"
—Jennifer Weiner, author of All Fall Down

"Totally addictive"

"Graduates in Wonderland was a gem of a find. Reading through it (and it goes by fast) is a kind of hybrid between the most amazing nostalgia spiral and a very satisfying session of eavesdropping (extensively) on friendly strangers."

"The book is full of witty descriptions and cultural observations, capturing not just a picture of twentysomething life but also a sense of the time"
—The Hairpin

"Life is hard after graduation. These two BFFs get it"

"I loved Graduates in Wonderland. It made me nostalgic for the uncertainty and excitement and seemingly endless possibilities of the post-college years. The first thing I did after reading it was pour my heart out--via email, of course--to my best friend."
—Rachel Bertsche, New York Times bestselling author of MWF Seeking BFF

"I knew from page 8, on which one of the authors ends a letter with a piece of brutally honest advice about the other's crush, that I would love Graduates in Wonderland. Theirs is a best friendship I find as complex, challenging, and deeply intimate as my own—the type of dynamic, all-consuming female friendship story that is as common as it is under-told. Jess and Rachel are smart, funny, and wise, and it's a pleasure to be like a fly in their emails, if that were a thing."
—Katie Heaney, author of Never Have I Ever

"A charming epistolary tale of female friendship and early post-graduate life in all its exciting and confusing glory. Jess and Rachel’s adventures will be relatable to anyone who has ventured down that strange rabbit hole we call the 'real world' and wondered just how to find her way back out again in one successful, happy piece." 
—Rachel Friedman, author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost

"Sounding, thinking, and talking exactly like your best friends, these girls dive headfirst into the humor and heartache of life after college. They kiss a lot of foreign frogs in a lot of foreign cities. And just when they think they are in danger of becoming real live adults, they prove themselves spectacularly wrong. And I love them for it."
—Jerramy Fine, author of Someday My Prince Will Come

"Gloriously addictive. This book is like catching up with your best friends over two-dollar tacos and margaritas, trying to convince each other to date this guy or travel or buy weirdo heels. I've been there, babes! The two authors have perfectly captured a time in your life where you have no footing and everything is utter chaos...but at least you have your buddies. A warm breath of both nostalgia and reality. The kind of writing you eat with a spoon. Funny and sweet and honest, like the best kinds of friendships. Will recommend to all my ladies."
—Alida Nugent, author of Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse

"Rachel and Jess have done an extraordinary job, in the creation of this book, of turning an epistolary life story into something richly tender, and genuinely suspenseful. The intimacy here, is not just between the writers, but with the readers. I've adventured forth now with Jess and Rachel, and I have returned with a warm, good feeling in my heart."
—Beth Kephart, author of Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir and Going Over

About the Author

Jessica Pan has a BA in Psychology and Literary Arts from Brown University.  She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. She was the editor of a magazine and a TV reporter in Beijing and writes for The HairpinThe Toast, Refinery29, Huffington Post, The Frisky and

Rachel Kapelke-Dale is pursuing a PhD in cinematographic studies at University College London. She has a BA in History of Art and Architecture and Comparative Literature from Brown University and a master’s in Cinema Studies from the Université de Paris VII. She has written for, Refinery29ThoughtCatalog, Huffington Post, AOL Travel and The Frisky.

Both authors live in London.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2521 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1592408605
  • Publisher: Gotham (May 6, 2014)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FX7UKZ0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,344 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read - pure joy May 12, 2014
A very honest account of three years for two close friends living abroad in their early twenties - it's extremely well written and pure reading joy to see two lives unravel and grow on the page as they correspond with bitting, honest wit.

A warning: You'll want to get yourself on a plane within a few pages somewhere exotic. The authors capture that spark that drives so many people, young and old, to travel and explore the world in search for adventure and experience.

The humour is very rich and the pair succeed here in balancing the honesty of their task to remain painfully honest to one another with the hard hitting facts of life that the years after graduating college are often paved like rough cobblestones, not smooth tarmac.

A great read - I highly recommend.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book May 9, 2014
I loved this book! The friendship between Rachel and Jess is so strong, they can tell each other anything without being judged by the other. Besides learning about their strong friendship, I also learned about the countries where they lived. I found it to be the kind of book that I just couldn't put down! A very charming read!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book May 13, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just finished this delightful, funny and entertaining book. It recalls the exciting, scary uncertainty of those post-college years when everything is new and unknown. The book is also a wonderful story of long distance friendship. It should be a graduation present for every new college graduate and anyone who has been blessed with enduring friendships. Friendships like this last forever.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great summer read June 2, 2014
By Mary D
Format:Kindle Edition
I picked up this book sort of by accident, mostly because I was looking for something light and funny to augment the more serious stuff on my summer reading list. To be honest I wasn't that interested in the whole "deep exploration of post-collegiate female friendship" the book is profiled as - I have my own friends and I'm not really at that juncture in my life - but I read the first few lines and the writing was witty, sarcastically self depreciating, and hilarious, which is exactly my kind of read. I added it to my Kindle and devoured it. It's funny throughout, gives you bizarre glimpses of the world as these ladies journey through it, and at times, is raw and honest in a way that makes run-of-the-mill girl drama really engaging. All around good read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down! May 20, 2014
By ckc628
I laughed out loud until my face ached when I was reading this delicious page-turner. The stories recounted by these two women of their post-college adventures are witty, intelligent, endearingly embarrassing and ridiculously relatable. Too good! And now - time to read it again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dooooo it! June 9, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Loved this book! Funny, smart, well written, embarrassingly and sometimes heartbreakingly honest. It's a great balance between the authors' personal self-reflections/coming of age moments and simple, universal truths that make any reader feel validated for at some point asking themselves the same questions. The emails exchanged between these two adventurers are often meaty in length and content, but the voice and tone is always fresh, authentic and digestible; never prosaic or long-winded. This is a great read that inspired me to not only connect with my closest friends, but also go seek out an adventure!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars International Fun! May 13, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fantastic, addictive book! I couldn't put it down. It brought me right back to my post-graduate days with the world at my feet with best friends in the same boat.
The authors are hilarious, humble, and easy to empathize with.
I highly recommend this book for a recent graduate, a book club, a world traveler, or anyone who wants a hearty laugh.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved Graduates in Wonderland, and read it all in one sitting.

Two friends make a pact to write to each other regularly, through thick and thin. Through their intimate and revealing e-mails, you follow their stories as Jess ends up in Beijing and then Australia, while Rachel ends up in New York and then Paris, navigating the challenges of early adulthood with pluck, humour, and growing wisdom.

I laughed out loud many times. I felt my heart sinking many other times, during the more intense parts. I found myself emotionally invested in the story from beginning to end. Jessica and Rachel's voices - and the colourful characters they encounter - jump right off the page, and it's easy to get caught up with their (mis)adventures. And along the way, you'll get to see some fascinating places in their own right, through their eyes, whether the narrow alleyways of Beijing, the boulevards of Paris, or a dusty farm in the Australian countryside.

If you've ever wondered what you should do with your life after college, if you've ever learnt lessons from past flings or relationships and feel the wiser for it, if you've ever been glad to face life with a close friend to confide in, you'll enjoy this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely fun and insightful read
Extremely fun and insightful read. As a young woman who played expat in Asian for 4 years, I thought a lot of this rang true: the humor, the hardships, the excitement, the... Read more
Published 18 days ago by SAMJH
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic reading. Want to give the book to every ...
couldn't put it down! Absolutely fantastic reading. Want to give the book to every new graduate and tell them, don't be afraid! Try new things. You never know. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Pnina Baim
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast read
A little annoying at some points but funny.
Published 1 month ago by Chelsy
5.0 out of 5 stars but this was such a joy of a book
I have never left a book review on Amazon, but this was such a joy of a book, I had to.

Very funny, charming and relatable. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Wesley Verhoeve
2.0 out of 5 stars 100 pages in and NOTHING interesting has happened. Starting ...
100 pages in and NOTHING interesting has happened. Starting to think I should write a travel book with the books getting published these days.
Published 4 months ago by Leslie Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars I scarfed this book down in 18 hours. It ...
I scarfed this book down in 18 hours. It made me nostalgic for my own wander-years. And also thankful for the relative calm that my 30s brought. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nicole Joseph
5.0 out of 5 stars great read!
Inspiring to hear similar life challenges and how they both got through them on their own with someone to confide in along the way
Published 4 months ago by Aubrey Stuart
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning: You will not be able to put this down once you start
Jessica and Rachel vow to keep in touch after graduating Brown. What ensues is a series of emails back and forth as the two of them discover what they actually want to do now that... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Megan
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
This extraordinary book somehow transcends the personal, and tells all of our journeys in finding a place in the world – and finding ourselves, wherever we are.
Published 7 months ago by Jessica Voigts
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 7 months ago by Wilfrido Lara Carrillo
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