Book Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Most people seem to label this book as young adult, but Bria has graduated high school and is trying to figure out what to do with her life, so I consider this more New Adult. As such, I am also counting this as Book 2 of my New Adult reading challenge.
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.
If you’ve ever considered going backpacking through unfamiliar countries, you should definitely read this book. If you haven’t, you should still read it, as it opens your mind to a host of new ideas and places. I’ve never really been much of a traveler, but this book makes me understand the appeal. The places Bria visits sound so beautiful, even though I know that I would have been even more freaked out at Bria at some of the things she had to deal with.
I also really enjoyed all the characters in this one. The only characters who weren’t all that three-dimensional were her friends from back home, whom we never meet. Everyone that Bria actually interacts with in this novel feels like a real person, not a caricature of a person. I definitely liked Rowan, and I can completely understand why people are so drawn to him. I didn’t really like him at first, but he grew on me the more we got to know him.
The most interesting person of all, though, was Bria herself. I enjoyed slowly getting to know more about her past and understanding why she acts the way that she did. She made a lot of stupid mistakes when it came to Toby, her ex-boyfriend, but I could still understand why she made those stupid choices. I can completely relate to the knowledge that you messed up your future for a boy, and I can definitely understand the anger that comes with that realization.
I really, really enjoyed this book. I read half of it at work and then stayed up late last night finishing it. I kept telling myself that I would stop reading after one more chapter, but that never happened, at least not until I finished the last chapter. 🙂