Tuesday 13 March 2012

Book Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard.

Product details:
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release date: March 13th 2012.
Hardcover, 352 pages.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: Netgalley.

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.

 When it feels like all is lost, how far would you go to find yourself?

That’s the question facing eighteen year old Bria Sandoval when she signs up for a guided tour of Central America.  The Global Vagabonds tour group promises days of glorious abandon, exploration and adventure, which is exactly what Bria needs as she strives to regain her independence in the aftermath of a destructive break-up which has seen her lose her passion for the art she once loved, and also mess up her college applications. When her friends bail on her, scuppering her summer travel plans, Bria decides to take charge of her life, to set off on her own, to be her own person, and maybe indulge in a few random hook up’s in order to forget the nasty ex.

But the Global Vagabonds tour group is not quite what she’s expecting and instead of hanging out with a group of  well traveled backpackers like the group she spotted at the airport on her arrival in Guatemala, Bria instead finds herself lumbered with a pack of middle-aged tourists who are intent on sticking resolutely to their travel itinerary. There’s no room for self-discovery amongst them, that’s for sure, so instead Bria drifts towards the bohemian Starling, and Rowan, a beautiful bad boy and seasoned backpacker, who might just be running from a dark past of his own.

Wanderlove is as inspirational story that truly comes to life thanks to Kirsten Hubbard’s beautiful prose, wealth of personal travel experience, and her own beautiful sketches which are here included in the text as part of Bria’s journal. A story of friendship and a journey towards self-discovery, everyone will find something to relate to in the both the life lessons and travel anecdotes that populate Wanderlove.  I love to travel and to discover new places, but even if you don’t have the travel bug, Wanderlove will make you want to grab a backpack and just go! Even though I’ve never been to Central America, and I prefer the comfort of hotels to roughing it with a backpack, I felt like I was right there with Bria on her journey, thanks to the beautifully descriptive writing in Wanderlove. Of course, it helps that Wanderlove also comes complete with a visual companion, located at: http://wanderlove.com/

As a character, I found Bria entirely relatable.  She’s a little difficult to warm to at first, but I soon grew to like her, and she’s very real. At the beginning of the novel Bria is uncomfortable in her own skin, a broken girl who has lost a little bit of herself to the guy who treated her so badly and shattered her confidence.  She’s learned some hard life lessons thanks to that relationship and she’s still a little dazed, still a little bit in shock at how the guy who she thought loved her, was really just looking out for himself.   She needs to rebuild herself, to get to know herself again, because she’s let herself down in ways that she didn’t think were even possible. And she needs to trust again.   She’s not sure if she can trust Rowan, but with Starling called away to work, he’s her only travel companion, and let’s just say that if every backpacking adventure came equipped with its very own Rowan, I would ditch those comfy hotels in a heartbeat!

For anyone who loves contemporary reads, romance, travel and adventure, this is the perfect book for you.  Wanderlove is a beautiful slow-burn of a book, with every page deserving to be savoured.  If you want to pick up a great contemporary read in 2012, you won’t go wrong with Wanderlove. This is truly a book that will stay in your heart long after you’ve turned its final pages.


  1. Heather@The Flyleaf Review13 March 2012 at 20:34

    I can't wait for my copy to arrive! Travel, art, bad boys (or better yet, reformed bad boys), this definitely is a Heather book;) Lovely review Leanna, I'm looking forward to reading even more now!

  2. Seems like a great book. Definitely adding it to my TBR pile now. :D

    Aleksandra @ Divine Secrets of a
    Little Bookworm

  3. daisychainbooks13 March 2012 at 21:12

     It was a very me book too! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :)

  4. "if every backpacking adventure came equipped with its very own Rowan, I would ditch those comfy hotels in a heartbeat!" - So true...sigh! Rowan and Bria were just great together.
    I loved Wanderlove as much as you did and I definitely have Central America on my travel radar now, it does sound so beautiful. Have you seen Kirsten Hubbard's reading videos? She recorded them in Central America.
    Thanks for the awesome review!

  5. I quite like it when it takes a bit to warm to a character, makes them feel more genuine. This one sounds so amazing, really woud like to read it!

    The Cait Files

  6. Moonlightbookreviews14 March 2012 at 00:50

    I have been dying to read a review of this!! Thanks!!

  7. "Wanderlove is a beautiful slow-burn of a book, with every page deserving to be savoured."

    LOVE these types of books! They're always the ones that just stick with me and have me thinking about them at the most random moments after I'm done reading. I've read not 1 even slightly less than complimentary review of this book so I need it in my hands immediately. Beautiful review Leanna!

  8. I've heard so many good things about this book. It just sounds SO good. Your review just makes me want to read it even more! I'm totally bumping it up on my TBR list. Thanks for the great review!

    Stop by Gripped into Books sometime :)

  9. I've heard nothing but great things about this book! Definitley reading it soon!

  10. Aww, I'm super curious about this one! Time travel, romance... sounds pretty good too me. o: I'm a bit unsure after some more negative reviews I've come across though, so I'll definitely have to take a closer look, but I'm seriously intrigued! I'm really glad you enjoyed it:)

  11. I definitely have wanderlust so I'm curious to see how this book will affect it. I love all those things you listed about the book and have heard such great reviews that it's definitely next on my TBR! I'm glad that you warmed up to the main character and she felt very real. Wonderful review, Leanna! :)

  12. daisychainbooks15 March 2012 at 12:56

     I haven't seen the videos, but I'll go check! :)

  13. daisychainbooks15 March 2012 at 12:57

     Thanks, Jenny! I think you'd love this one!

  14. daisychainbooks15 March 2012 at 13:01

     No time travel, just normal travel, but I promise it's very good! :)

  15. Lol, aw! Fail. I have no idea where that came from! Still sounds good though. ;)

  16. daisychainbooks15 March 2012 at 14:37

     Time Travel and romance in Central America would be pretty good too. Somebody should do it! ;)

  17. The relatability and this sense of empowerment in the story did make this an inspirational story, does implant the desire to go do some exploring yourself. :D

  18. Oh, I so, so, so want to read this. It definitely looks like the kind of book that will quickly become a favourite with me. So glad to hear that you loved it - everything about your review makes me want to read it more than ever now! :)


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