Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wanderlove ~ Kirsten Hubbard (earc) review

Kirsten Hubbard will be here next week, on Wednesday the 21st for an interview as part of my Spring Break Blog Spectacular, make sure you stop back by for that (and let her know how much you love Wanderlove if you've read it by then or how much you can't wait to if you haven't yet.)!!

Delacorte Books for Young Readers
March 13, 2012
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy on Amazon/or on Book Depository

It’s been a little while since I’ve read a book that I’ve loved so much I want to take it around everywhere with me, hold it in everyone’s face and say, “Read this!” (Whether they’re interested or not.)

Wanderlove is one of those books.

Bria’s trip all began with one simple question: Are you a Global Vagabond? She’s not but she’d like to be.
Bria Sandoval (and is that not a name you’d love to have for prospective Global Vagabond’ing? It’s perfect?) signs herself up for a guided tour of Central America – hoping to find some find some independence, maybe some cute boys for a no-strings hookup or two. The spur-of-the-moment decision comes after Bria’s break-up and its effect on her art and admission to art school.

Only, she’s signed up for the wrong tour. Instead of the group full of spontaneous, young backpacker type travelers, Bria finds herself stuck with a bunch of middle-aged fanny pack wearers. Going from Point A to Point B in a van, never noticing the scenery around them, is not what Bria had in mind. So, when she meets backpacker and dive instructor, Rowan and his sister Starling she grabs the chance to leave her group behind and explore with them.

While Bria’s trying to prove to herself she doesn’t have to follow all the rules, Rowan’s trying to get back into following them and Starling, well, she seems to make some of her own. Together they’ll travel across remote villages and islands, discover the beauty of the Caribbean Bria would not otherwise have seen, and come across creatures she might rather not have. All the while, Bria and Rowan will discover they have a lot more in common than they might think – or want to admit.

And Bria, will realize she can’t just run away from everything forever.

The fact that Kirsten Hubbard has also written some travel books and travelled so extensively may, at least partially, why Wanderlove is so absolutely brilliant. I can easily see Hubbard being like an Ernest Hemingway for young adults - or just for the present day. Her novels bring us so brilliantly to the locales they’re set (Belize, especially, and Guatemala in the case of Wanderlove) that not only are you fully there, as a reader, with the characters but it makes you want to see them in person. If you’ve already been to any of the places, reading Wanderlove feels like going back – and makes you want to plan an actual trip back ASAP.

Yet without great characters, the setting wouldn’t have meant anything. Bria (aside from her perfect traveling name) fits the book so well. I love that she’s not a fearless, jump-into-everything traveler who just goes for everything right off. It makes the story easier to relate to in some way. While Rowan and Starling do know how to do everything, Bria is just discovering it with readers (well most). It’s incredibly enjoyable to come along for the ride – or rides, walks, hikes, etc as the case may be here – as she discovers not only how to do things in terms of traveling but also discovers so much more about herself, too.

The artwork that is part of the book, Bria’s in the novel but Kirsten Hubbard’s in reality, is beautiful and such a great accompaniment to the story. Bria’s art is so much a part of the story that it’s fantastic to be able to see it as well as read about it. (And it’s great, great art, too.)

As previously stated I love, love Wanderlove and can’t say that enough. I really hope you will buy it, get it from your library (and realize how much you love it and need to buy it), borrow it from a friend, read it!!

Rating: 10/10

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my digital galley.

*Photos in my buttons are from Belize

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