Thursday, April 12, 2012

Book Review -- Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
352 pages
Published March 13th 2012 
by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Goodreads summary -- 
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.

Sometimes a book comes to you at the completely right time. You read it and you just think, “Wow, that book was perfect for my mood.” Or you read it on vacation while you are completely relaxed and the only thing that exists is you and the story. Your mood, your location, the stage in your life—these are what can make or break a book for someone.

I read Wanderlove in the midst of a really horrible reading slump. And this slump could have destroyed this book for me, but it just so happened that I read it at the completely right time.

Bria is struggling. She is at a crossroads in life, fresh off a breakup, confused about her future, traveling on her own, aggravated at her parents and overall incomplete. She isn’t a miserable character. Her life hasn’t gone to hell. After all, she is in Guatemala and traveling with a very attractive vagabond. But what Bria is missing is her passion. And the journey to rediscover that part of her is where this story is really brilliant.

Bria’s passion is art and drawing, but she lost that desire when someone (a boy) whittled away at that important part of her until it was nothing but an afterthought. As she abandons the safe route—the easy route—she is given an opportunity to rediscover her passion. Bria’s journey is fun, full of interesting characters, and beautiful locations. She is a likeable character from the get go, but as the story grows so does she, and the reader’s investment in her grows as well. It is essentially a journey for everyone. I for one started the book in a reading slump but finished having rediscovered my reading passion. 

Life, people, failures, letdowns, accidents, fear—all of this is what lies in between us and our passions, interests and dreams. And when we let all of that get in between, it is hard to see just what it is that makes us truly happy. What Bria’s journey shows is that passion is not something somebody can take from us or something they can give back, it is something that we have to discover within ourselves. Life might get in the way—making us lose sight—but it is up to us to make the journey to find it again.  

(Thanks to netgally and Randomhouse for providing me with this book for read and review.)


  1. I keep reading such wonderful reviews for this book. I'm definitely going to have to check it out at some point. Great review..

  2. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. I totally agree with you that sometimes books come at the right time for you. THIS was definitely a "right time" book for me too. If I could be a global vagabond for my whole life, I totally would. I think that scares my fiance :P At least I have books to satiate that desire when I'm not traveling.

    PS I just found your blog and I LOVE IT. Definitely in my Reader now!

  3. If you love traveling or have ever been interested in traveling, you need this book. If you like coming of age stories where characters find themselves, you need this book. If you like romance of any kind, you need this book. In short, everyone should read it.


Questions? Comments? Snide remarks?