Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Review: Wanderlove

By: Kristen Hubbard
Release Date: March 13, 2012

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

I couldn't put this book down, I was up until 2 something in the morning finishing this book (mind you I wake up at 530 for work, I'm not even regretting it right now either that much).  This book had me completely engulfed in it.  I have always wanted to travel and going from being on a tour to skipping out and going backpacking it's like a dream that I know won't come true for me personally but it is still something to wonder about. 

Bria is off on an adventure, she's going to travel her way through the Mayan Ruins to prove to herself and to Toby that she could do this, she could travel.  Toby is her now ex boyfriend who is nothing but jealous of her and really I'm glad he was never really in the book only in the past segments, because he's just a stupid boy.  You know the type when he doesn't get what he wants he turns bitter and just mean.  It's true he really is just jealous of Bria and her art skills, after all she got into the fast track program for college and he did not.

Bria lands in Guatemala and is immediately disappointed with her tour group, they look nothing like the pamphlet she saw that made her decide to come on this tour.  She does notice some backpackers and can't help but stare and wonder about them.  Through her first expedition she runs into some and on a whim decides to check them out a little more.  Somehow she gets entangled in their lifestyle and begins a new journey with them while leaving her tour group behind.  Sure she lost a lot of money with that tour group but she's going to gain a lot of experience with her new backpacker friends Starling and Rowan.

Starling is Rowans older sister and she's completely carefree.  She pretty much hijacks/talks Bria into going with her, and then a day or so in she leaves Bria for a job she's got.  So now it's just Bria and Rowan.  There is tension there and you feel it throughout the whole book.  They are tiptoeing around each other and I love this little game.  One person is like I don't want to the other is like neither do I when you can clearly see they totally want each other.  It's great!

So they go off on their adventure together all heading to Lobsterfest and you can see their friendship grow into more little by little each day.  They share more of themselves and sure there are some disastrous moments, but when is life ever perfect.  Their adventure is one to remember.  The drawings in between and throughout the chapters were amazing as well.  I wanted to dive into my kindle and join their adventure (but maybe perhaps as the Jesus Christ Lizard that walks on water hehe so i can just be an observer). 

Wanderlove is defined as moving forward, it's not really about love.  It's about leaving the past behind and starting fresh every day, in other words live in the present.

The characters in this book were great.  The carefree flower childlike Starling who ropes both Rowan and Bria together perfectly.  Rowan the brooding quite all knowing backpacker who has seen too much in his short lifespan.  Bria the naive innocent one who is tyring to prove to herself that she can let go and be free.  There are all the other little characters you meet along they way and they too have a part in the big picture of things.

This really was a great book and I can imagine each and every location they went to almost wishing I was there instead of here.  Kristen Hubbard did an amazing job making the reader feel as if they were there and getting emotionally attached to the characters.  I can't wait to read something else from this author. If you get the chance you should definitely pick this book up. 

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