Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: March 13, 2012
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, ""Are you a Global Vagabond? "No, but 18-year-old Bria wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a tour of Central America--the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. So when Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspoken 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 through Mayan villages and remote Belizean islands, they discover they're both seeking to leave behind the old versions of themselves. The secret to escaping the past, Rowan's found, is to keep moving forward. But Bria realizes she can't run forever. At some point, you have to look back."
Bria has always played it safe in her life. She wants to branch out and travel the summer before college; however, her best friends have thwarted her plans and will no longer go with her. She is still determined to go on an amazing trip and books one to Central America with a tour group. Once she gets there, she realizes that the tour group, filled with older people, may not really be for her and she finds herself hanging out with Rowan, a backpacker bad boy and his sister, Starling. Bria ditches her group to get a real travel experience with them and ends up on what is ultimately a trip of a lifetime. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard is the perfect read for fans of adventure, travel and romance.
Bria is essentially trying to recreate herself on this trip. She is trying to escape a bad breakup and find herself. At first, I really couldn't connect with Bria, but once she started opening up and hanging out with Rowan and Starling, I enjoyed her more. Bria is an artist and I really enjoyed how Hubbard included her sketches in Wanderlove. It enhanced the descriptions of the locations that much more.
Rowan is the bad boy that we all love to hate. At first, I determined he was bad news, but as their relationship progressed, I liked Rowan more and more. If you are looking for a quick story filled with romance, Wanderlove is not like that. Bria and Rowan's relationship is a slow burn, but it is done very well. Also, Rowan and Starling are the typical nonconformist and they bring the best out in Bria. They teach her to travel lightly, cheaply, and see the world. Needless to say, the characterization in Wanderlove was superb; the characters truly came to life.
The setting of Wanderlove is to-die-for. Seriously. I love traveling, especially to warm locations and this book was right up my alley. As I was reading it, I wanted to to book a trip immediately, go backpacking, and explore. Thankfully, Hubbard's descriptions made me feel like I was already there with warm breeze caressing my face and a cold drink in my hand.
This would be a wonderful book to read this summer on the beach or on a trip. If you love to travel, you will fall in love with Wanderlove, too.