Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Kirsten Hubbard
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
March 13, 2012

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.

Wow. I was blown away by this book. Since this book had everything I love in a contemporary, I had high expectations. And they were met. Wanderlove was a fantastic contemporary. 

I will admit, it did take a little bit to get into this book. It was good from the beginning, but it took a little bit to get to the point of being unable to put it down. But once I got to that point, there was no going back. 

We meet Bria, who is getting over the hurt of her anything-but healthy relationship. She is trying to let go of her 'good girl' ways. Bria changes tremendously during this book. While she does complain a lot, I really can see how hurt she is from Toby and all. All along Bria is just trying to find herself, which she does. 

And then there's Rowan. I wasn't sure about him at first, but I got to say he's just a little amazing. He, too, is running from his past. But unlike Bria, he's trying to shed is bad ways. Him and Bria were really good for each other. They helped each other grow and find themselves. I loved how their relationship slowly progresses through the book. 

Kirsten Hubbard did wonders with the descriptions of the places. I could easily imagine all the places Bria and Rowen traveled. I have to say it opened my eyes to a whole new world. 

I also loved the art in the book. It was very eminent from the way Bria thinks that she is an artist. We see drawings throughout the book and I loved them. They really brought out a new depth to the story. 

Wanderlove is a fabulous read. It had everything I love in contemporaries: travel, a romance, a past. This is the reason I love contemporaries. 

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