Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
The Skinny: After a major bad breakup and giving up her life’s passion, art, Bria Sandoval signs up with Global Vagabonds for the “trip of a lifetime” to Central America. Only when she arrives she quickly finds out that her “trip of a lifetime” is packed with tightly wound tour guides and older travelers who prefer clean, sanitary traveling to getting to really see the world. Bria meets Starling and Rowan, brother and sister backpackers, and is convinced to leave her tour group and follow them as they travel. When Starling suddenly leaves their little group, Bria is left to travel alone with Rowan, who refuses to talk about his more than shady past. As they backpack together through lush Central America, Bria discovers that they both are trying to escape their past. But as they become closer, Bria must learn that if she wants to move forward she first has to deal with her past.
BFF?: I think rather than being BFFs with Bria I just want to BE Bria. Or at least be like her. Although I don’t support her decision to give up everything she loved because of a boy and run away to escape her past, I do know I’ve been there and really felt for her. I also wish I was bold enough to just leave my carefully planned existence behind and do something wild and extraordinary. I think being BFFs with Bria would be wonderful, though, because she really just needs a hug and someone to hold her hand; not because she’s weak or needs reassurance but because she needs someone to jump right in with her, to experience all that life has and smile with. Bria… please be my BFF! For our next trip we can go to Greece!
Readability: Bria’s narration is so vividly honest and beautiful I totally fell in love with everything she did, from her exploits while traveling to her memories of her past to her love of art. Hubbard’s writing is fresh and clear, borderline sarcastic while at the same time conveying everything that wanderlove is. It’s an easy read, not too dark or deep, but you can get easily lost in the world… I imagine this is exactly what actually traveling through Central America is like.
Crush Level: 7
I was a little uncertain of Rowan at first, what with the backpacker description and the long dread-locky hair. Of course, had I been a professional backpacker, I’m sure my hair would look no better; give me a weekend without fixing it and I look like a dread-locky backpacker. Although I don’t really have a special place in my heart for reformed bad boys, Rowan definitely earned a special place with me. There were so many scenes that made me fall in love with him I honestly can’t blame Bria for falling had for him. Although there’s not much kissy times in Wanderlove, the kissy times were good enough to make me want to run out and make out with the first boy I see. (Please note: I was able to control myself)
Bria is an artist who is slowly finding her feet again after dropping art like it’s hot. As the book develops, Bria slowly begins drawing again and her pictures are shown all through the book. What makes this great is that the pictures are actually Kirsten Hubbard’s drawings! A writer and an artist? Bam! Bam! Super talent!
It is one of my dreams to travel to a different country and just explore it, to spend weeks there soaking up the local customs, seeing things off the beaten path, and just loving it. I can’t tell you how insanely jealous I was of Bria getting to do that and still having the freedom she has; I guess when you’re eighteen you can do these things!
Young Adult Books
Sometimes I get irritated when novels I’m reading try to work other classic literature into their story because it always comes off as cheesy. Not so with Wanderlove; I feel like there were so many references and they were just delightful. Every time I came across one I got a little excited because 9 out of 10 times, I loved the book they were referencing! (Such as The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!)
In the south we have our own versions of lobster and they’re called crawfish. Lobsterfest reminded me of our many, MANY crawfish boils we have around here; days of eating, drinking and dancing that are so much fun and something we all look forward to in the spring.
Commencement Speech: Wanderlove is chock full of wonderfullness and you can’t help but get bitten by the wanderlove bug yourself. Whether you travel yourself or just dream about it, living vicariously through Bria’s travels is something to be experienced, words unable to do them any justice. Kirsten Hubbard’s own experiences add to the beauty and her ability to bring her book to life is breathtaking. While this sounds like a lot of pretty words, and I know I sometimes talk in a lot of pretty words, Wanderlove is simply pretty. There are so many factors that make this book great, from the characters and their relationships to the lush and tropical backdrop. Overall, it was definitely a fantastic read that I would recommend to just about anyone.
Superlatives – Most Likely to Make You Want to Quit Your Job and Travel
Like this post? You may like these too: