Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Release date: March 13, 2012
How I got it: For review via Netgalley
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.
Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.I was left feeling very underwhelmed after reading Hubbard's debut, Like Mandarin, but I could see that the author was still destined for great things in the future. As usual, I was right. Wanderlove is a fantastic contemporary adventure.
I instantly connected with Bria. Her narration is as funny as it is heartfelt, but anyone who's ever felt like they're a little too tame and comfortable, or had something in their past that they wanted to just run away from will effortlessly be able to put themselves in Bria's shoes.
I've never read a book set in South America and I found it to be fascinating and a definite way to separate Wanderlove from other teen travel books. Hubbard's own travel experience really shows in the way she writes equally about the bad and good about South America, and I think anyone who's ever been or just likes some realistic settings will appreciate that. I know I did.
And now for my favorite thing about the book: The romantic tension. Rowan is hot, guys. He and Bria spend a lot of time dancing around topics and words and feelings and you could just CUT THE TENSION WITH A KNIFE.
Basically, Wanderlove was made of win. If you're a fan of contemporary, this one should definitely go on your to-read list!
Plot: Totally fun and unique. Took me a little while to get into it, though.
Characters: All of them were great and easy to relate to.
Writing: Very good.
Kid friendly? There's swearing, drinking, mentions of sex, and making out.
"Nooo don't make me watch TV mom I wanna reeead."
Actual quote from me the night I finished Wanderlove. Once it grabbed me, I was racing to finish it.