Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
It all begins with a stupid question:
Are you a Global Vagabond?
No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.
Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.
But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.
Wanderlove was a beautifully written and captivating sophomore novel that left me ready to pack my bags and head out on an adventure of my own. I have yet to read Kirsten's debut, Like Mandarin, but I am definitely anxious to do so now.
Traveling has always been a passion of mine and I can't wait until I graduate high school and can visit even more places. The scenery and setting was the best part of Wanderlove and it transported me right to Central America. I have visited South America once before, Peru to be exact. It was a fantastic and eye-opening experience and seeing Kirsten's descriptions of Belize and Guatemala only made me want to hop on a plane and go backpacking. You can tell Kirsten had a lot of personal experience with backpacking in these areas and it only made the book that much better.
Bria was a wonderful main character and she seems like someone I would be friends with in real life. She learned a lot about herself and what she wanted from life while on that amazing trip and it was a lot of fun to experience everything through her eyes. (Although I really want to travel there and see everything for myself!) Bria faced a lot of craziness in Central America, but she never broke down or overreacted. She was a mature and likable character and seems like a great person to travel with.
The plot of Wanderlove was great and I never found myself bored or wanting to put the book down for a second. I haven't been reading a lot lately because of my hectic junior year, so Wanderlove was the perfect novel to get me back in the swing of things.
I read this on my Nook, but the drawings were still gorgeous. Kirsten Hubbard included some of her own illustrations in the book and they added so much to the story. I wish I could draw like that!
This review would not be complete without mentioning some of my other favorite characters- Starling and Rowan. These backpacking siblings were the perfect mix of adventurous, kind, and rebellious. I loved getting to know them and am so glad Bria ran into them or her trip would have gone very differently. The romance was not "insta-love", but it took time to develop and it had me smiling the entire time. Rowan was a great guy and he was such a real character.
All in all, Wanderlove was a fantastic sophomore novel from Kirsten Hubbard and I can't wait to start planning my next trip. I highly recommend picking this up and Kirsten Hubbard has made my list of favorite authors with just one book.
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
March 13, 2012/Delacorte BFYR/352 Pages/Young Adult
Other books by this author: Like Mandarin