Wednesday, March 21, 2012

SBBS: Day 03 ~ Kirsten Hubbard

Spring Break Blog Spectacular: Day 03 ~ Kirsten Hubbard Interview & Like Mandarin review

My review of Kirsten Hubbard's second novel Wanderlove (released last week on 13th March) can be found here.

Wanderlove is a fantastically, amazing, wonderful book that I think you should all, of course read. . . What you should also read? My interview with Kirsten and then my review of her debut novel Like Mandarin which was released last year - and in paperback last week.

Ideal spring break destination: ski chalet or tropical beach villa?
Tropical beach villa, for sure. Last time I tried to snowboard I ended up being towed down the mountain in one of those body bag sled things. True story.

In high school/college which was more likely: spotting you on MTV’s Spring Break or just you and your friends savoring the week off?
Kirsten Hubbard on a recent trip to Central America
Oh gosh. If we're talking age 17-19... let's just say the Tijuana experience Bria alludes to in the beginning of WANDERLOVE has some, um, familiar elements.

What was your favorite Spring Break ever (where and/or why)? Or if you didn't go on Spring Break trips, where did you always want to go?
When I was 18 and a freshman in college, some friends and I rented a beach house in Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara. On a lifeguard tower there, the guy I was making out with from time to time asked me to be his girlfriend officially. Around five years later, he proposed to me on that same lifeguard tower (and I was TOTALLY surprised!). So yeah, that was a special spring break :)

Fly and have the fun be at the destination or road trip and have the journey be at least half the fun?
Oh, I love road trips. Road trips for sure. Unless we're talking international bus trips, which I've had more than my share of. Those vary.

Do any of your characters take Spring Break trips? Either during or before/after the course of the novel.
Actually, there's a type of traveler Rowan calls Spring Breakpackers -- young travelers who strap on a backpack for a week and hit up a party destination. He tends to look down on them, until Bria points out how judgmental he's being.

Where would their ideal Spring Break destination be? (Together or on their own.)
Living abroad, Spring Break doesn't mean much to Rowan and Starling, other than an influx of tourists. So, they might head somewhere nearby, but remote, to get away from them all. Bria would be totally on board!

Which of your characters (in Wanderlove or anything you’re working on) would you most have liked to have met on a Spring Break trip?
Who wouldn't want to meet a Rowan? Although I'd have loved to have someone like Starling take me under her wing, like she does with Bria.

Best book to read on Spring Break or a road trip?
Well, I'm kind of partial to one particular spring 2012 book... :)

Thank you, Kirsten!

Like Mandarin review:

Like Mandarin
Random House Children's Books
March 13, 2012 (paperback)
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy on Amazon/or Book Depository

Grace Carpenter doesn't find beauty in the Femme Fatale cosmetics her mother sells for a living, she doesn't see it in the pageants her mother enters Grace's six-year-old Taffeta in, either, The only beauty fourteen-year-old Grace really sees in windblown Washokey, Wyoming is Mandarin Ramsey.

Seventeen-year-old, Mandarin is Washokey's wild-child - and their favorite source of gossip, as well. Grace doesn't care about all the talk of Mandarin and 'her men' or the other things people say about her, she just knows that Mandarin fascinates her. What Grace wouldn't give to be like Mandarin.

But brilliant Grace, who's been moved up from ninth to tenth grade and Mandarin, a senior who's out of class almost as often as she's in it, have rarely crossed paths before. Until, that is, they're paired up for a project. Soon, Grace and Mandarin begin what might just be a friendship - and Grace is learning more than she ever thought she would about Mandarin Ramsey.

The relationship between Grace and Mandarin in Like Mandarin is unlike one I've read before. Both characters are so incredibly unique - from Grace's pageant past (and less than graceful exit) to her love of rocks and Mandarin's complexities that really come out as the  story develops. At first it seems like something very one sided, that Grace really is just fascinated with this much talked about, interesting, older girl. The, though, as the two interact, we get to see how these two, so seemingly different individuals, form a friendship.

I love the way Grace's relationship with her mother and with her sister also grows and develops alongside the events involving her and Mandarin.

As with Wanderlove (which came out second but I read first), Hubbard has an incredible talent for writing settings. Like Mandarin is set in the badlands of Wyoming which might sound less appealing (to some) than Central America (where Wanderlove is) but it comes across no less beautiful and breathtaking.

I'm also starting to think she has an extreme talent for naming characters, first Bria Sandoval and Starling in Wanderlove and now I read this with Mandarin, the appealing, exotic seeming girl and Taffeta, the younger daughter that the mother has all her beauty queen dreams pinned on. Perfect character names!

Rating: 9/10


  1. I absolutely adore Kirsten!!! Her writing style just touches me personally. I love both of her books so far. Cannot wait for more from her.

  2. I haven't read either of her books yet :(. I need to get on that. Great interview!

  3. The part where the lifeguard proposes to her is so adorable! Wanderlove sounds like a good book and one I should give a chance.


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