Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Release Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

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.

As far as YA contemporaries go, this one takes the prize for "Most Exotic". I loved Bria's adventures in Central America. I've never been there, but Kirsten Hubbard's writing and accompanying drawings created strong, and very beautiful imagery of what it would be like to visit that part of the world. From what I've heard of Hubbard, is that she's a world traveler, and so it's really cool to read about places where she's been and the sights she's seen.

Wanderlust is like itchy feet. It’s when you can’t settle down. But Wanderlove is much deeper than that... it’s a compulsion. It’s the difference between lust and love.

Bria is our main character, and I found her quite relatable, and she was exactly like a normal human being should be. Nothing too special (except for the beautiful drawings!) and just looking for herself in the middle of Central America. However, at times I found her kind of annoying, a little bit too obsessed with her past when she was trying to shake it off, but I loved the struggle as she tries to let go of it. A great character in the end :)
ROWAN. So I was watching Glee the other day, and then this new character comes in– Joe Hart. Who's the first person I think of when watching him? ROWAN! I loved Rowan. He's so much different from other guys and I'm not just talking about the dreadlocks. He's such a frank character, so honest and so experienced, you can totally feel the Hubbard in him. I also loves the way that he alludes to some classics. I'm proud to say I actually managed to get some of them.
Starling is Rowan's sister, and I wish that she'd been more in the book, because I think she's an amazing character– very outspoken and very different. And her name? Love it!

The way in which Hubbard describes different aspects in her novel is absolutely stunning. Like this little passage blow. I couldn't find any about Central America, and those were gorgeous, but here's one about Bria and her art (from Goodreads):

I recall the rasp of charcoal on newsprint, the chewing-gum stretch of a kneaded eraser, the precarious bite of a razor blade in a new pencil. The vibrancy of fresh watercolors squeezed from a tube. A new sketchbook, cracked open to flawless white. The way the smell of turpentine made me feel simultaneously sick and excited.

You can really visualize and sense what Bria's going through, and everything she does and sees. And the drawings that I keep mentioning are gorgeous. Kirsten Hubbard is obviously a very talented person!

Overall, Wanderlove is cute, original and funny thrown into a blender full of adventure and culture. If this doesn't make you long for trekking through the rainforest and walking in a busy market in this part of the world, I don't know what would– this contemporary adventure will have you dreaming of exotic locations from then on. Kirsten Hubbard is an amazing author and I DEFINITELY need to read more from her.

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  1. I would have liked more Starling too-she seemed interesting and I wanted more of her.

  2. I'm so glad that you really enjoyed this too, Rabiah! I adore Wanderlove so much - the writing is beyond gorgeous! This book makes me yearning to visit Central America someday! x) I agree, sometimes Bria seems obsessed with her past. That's why I'm so glad when she finally grows up and becomes so much better person! x

    Absolutely beautiful review, Rabiah! :)

  3. I've been looking forward to reading this but haven't picked it up yet. Great review, I am glad you enjoyed it :)

  4. Gooorgeous writing! Thank you for sharing some of the quotes. We've been dying to read this book -- in fact, why have we not bought it yet?! Thanks for the reminder!

    Btw, LIKE MANDARIN is pretty good too. :)

  5. Thanks for the review! You made I have this book and it's been sitting on my shelf since I won it from a giveaway months ago because there wasn't a 'right time' for it. I think I'll start on it today. :)

  6. I have been trying to snag a copy of this!
    I have heard such good things about it and you confirmed them!
    I will definitely be picking it up soon :]
    Thanks for the wonderfully detailed review!

  7. i love wanderlove. it's a great book, but definitely something you have to get in to, not just a beach read. this book made me want to travel dressed like a hipster whilst backpacking through rugged areas with big bugs, minus the part about the big bugs. it also really makes me want to meet, well, rowan.


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