Release Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Review Source: Netgalley
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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.
You know when you love a book and you’re not sure how to express that love? Yah, this is one of those times. But hear me out, because I’m going to attempt to express how great ‘Wanderlove’ is and why you should pick up a copy of it as soon as you can. ‘Wanderlove’ is like being wrapped up in a warm tropical breeze. It’s like cheesecake [or insert your favourite dessert here]. Like hugging a soft kitten. Like a caramel frappuccino on a hot day. Okay I have no idea where I’m going with this or what those comparisons mean, except that they’re all amazing and comforting, and that’s what ‘Wanderlove’ was to me. It was comforting somehow, despite it containing two searching souls, heartache, and lots of uncomfortable travel.
I completely fell in love with this book from the very first chapter. As I got to know Bria, Rowan, Starling, and the other characters I fell even deeper. I love it when characters feel real, and that’s what I experienced here. These characters were good people: people who I would want to know, but they were also flawed, making them all the more real. I also fell in love with the romance because it was subtle and slow burning. The book is more about Bria and Rowan’s personal journeys than it is about their romance, but when everything came together it was all butterflies in my stomach. I would also be remiss not to mention the gorgeous drawings that accompany the book, which are all the more interesting and amazing because they were drawn by the author herself.
What else can I say? This book was fabulous, smart, and real. I can easily place it within my favourite reads of 2011, and I can't wait to read it again once I have my own copy. Highly recommended to YA contemp fans.
Find Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.