Friday, March 09, 2012

Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Title: Wanderlove
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release date: March 13th 2012
Pages: 335
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: NetGalley - thank you to the NetGalley and Delacorte for providing a free eGalley in exchange for an honest review!
Find out more: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads description:
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.

First sentence:
As soon as I see the blond girl bouncing down the aisle, I know she's heading for the empty seat beside me.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard has been on my wishlist for ages - I have no idea why I haven't read it yet, since it sounds perfect for me and everyone loved it. But since I don't own a copy of Like Mandarin, and Wanderlove was on NetGalley, I decided to read this one first, even if the description didn't appeal to me as much as Like Mandarin's did. And even though I didn't know much about it when I first started Wanderlove, I ended up loving it!

Wanderlove was a little hard to get into at first. I didn't care for Bria much in the beginning, since most of her personality and past isn't revealed until later on, and the plot moves slowly at first - not all that much happens until Bria ditches her traveling group to go backpacking with Rowan and Starling. I get that part is necessary for the story, though, and I loved everything about Wanderlove once the real traveling starts!

Once we find out some more about Bria and her past, I loved her as a character. She has a great voice - she's smart, quirky, funny, and unique, and her fears as well as her dreams are relatable. Bria's character growth is amazing, and it's portrayed so well.

The secondary characters are fully-developed and real. I loved Starling, and I was sad to see her not play a bigger role in the story, but it's the only way what happens can work, so I get it. Rowan is one great character. If a writer can get me to fall for a guy with a ponytail, I really can't ask for anything more. I wanted to know more about his past and I was kept guessing, but once the secrets did come out, I was a little disappointed - I was hoping for something even more scandalous.

The romance nearly killed me. It's so, so slow. That's not a bad thing, though - the author takes her time to let the characters get to know each other, to develop a meaningful relationship before getting to the romance, instead of jumping right into it like is all too common in the books I read. I really appreciated that. The author builds up the amazing chemistry, the sizzling tension until you almost can't take it anymore - and that's when she finally lets happen what we all want to see happen. I love that she kept me waiting, and Rowan and Bria's relationship is so much more meaningful for it.

The plot is good. I love the whole idea of 'wanderlove' - such a beautiful word. I really liked the different layers of the story. At times, though, it moves a little too slowly for me - I'm just not used to that much description.

The writing is amzing, so beautiful. The descriptions of the scenery make it sound gorgeous. I'm not a particularly impulsive person, but this book makes me want to drop everything and go backpacking across Central America.

Another thing I loved about Wanderlove are the drawings. There are beautiful drawings in between the beautiful words, and guess what? They're also by Kirsten Hubbard! How much talent can one person have!? The drawings are amazing. I'm going to have to buy a finished copy of Wanderlove once it's released - I'm sure it'll all look even better in print.

With rich characterization, vivid writing, perfectly-paced romance, and beautiful art, Wanderlove  offers a unique contemporary YA story. If you don't quite dare to drop everything and go backpacking across Central America but would still like some of the experience, or if you're looking for a change from all that insta-love, Wanderlove is the book for you!

If you've read this book, what did you think?


  1. OMG, this sounds absolutely amazing! Bria sounds like the perfect protagonist and I absolutely love a well-written romance. Kirsten Hubbard sounds talented; not just a talented writer, but an artist as well!


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