Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: Wanderlove


Standalone or Series: Standalone
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Reading Level and Genre(s): YA Contemporary
Publisher: Delacorte
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Source: Netgalley
*Note: The text featured in this post is from an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC). Changes may have been made in the final proof.
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.
As the first NetGalley of the year, and my second yet-to-be-published review novel of the year, this book made me really, really excited for this year in publishing because it was just fantastic. I loved it. At first, all I got out of Bria was that she was kind of whiny, and I'm pretty sure her jerk ex-boyfriend was mentioned in every single chapter (when really this entire trip was for her to get over it, so it was kind of annoying.) I really don't want to ruin the book for you, so I'll keep this review short and sweet. I'm recommending it for pretty much anybody. If you like to read, you'll like this. Heck, if you don't like to read, I still say you should try this.

So this book involves backpacking in Latin America, something that sounds really adventurous and fun, but probably not something I would really like to try out. I like my indoor plumbing, okay? Either way, this book was adventurous and fun, and I loved reading about each place and the beautiful imagery. Hubbard's writing is quirky and funny, and she threaded words together in a way that made me able to live what was going on in the story. (Meaning she's a good writer. I just wanted it to sound fancier.) It felt real. (I mean, some of this is based off of her own experiences, right? How much more real can you get?)

I love to read contemporary novels, and I was so glad to find that this one was not all about romance. (Well, at first.) It was about a girl finding her place in the world, even if she had to travel all over it to do it. (But Rowan was a pretty cool guy. Bonus points.) Picture Mayan ruins, a gorgeous sunset and the feeling of being at the top of the world. That's what the book made me feel like at the end. Breathless.

Would I recommend this book? Um, yes!! Hubbard's sophomore novel really stood out to me, and I am looking forward to future installments from her. I have yet to read Like Mandarin, but I hope to pick it up soon!

First Line:
Travel Companions
Overpriced organic fruit & nut bar from airport terminal
Ergonomic travel pillow
Phone with astronomical roaming charges
Sketchbook (knockoff Moleskine)
Assortment of pens and pencils
Left behind
Old version of myself

[Starling] "...You and Jack tried to convince me to take that puddle jumper to La Ceiba because Jack knew the pilot, even though you know he was smuggling a few pounds of-"
"Christ, Starling!" Rowan swats her hands from his head.
"What's the big deal? Nothing happened, in the end."
I examine my fingernails, pretending not to see the cartoon storm cloud hovering between them. Pounds of what? Pounds of what?
"What about that time in Puerto Sol?" Starling asks Rowan.
Until I hear otherwise, I'm just going to assume she mean pounds of bananas.

Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does receive books for review for free by publishers or authors. For every book reviewed – whether sent by publisher, author or books purchased, it will be graded with a clean and open mind. A free book received will not influence any opinion of the contents of the book.
Spoilers may or may not have been present in this review. While iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does review honestly, reviews are not specifically checked for spoilers. Attempts at avoiding spoilers are made, but not all are removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement placed on all reviews as a warning to those who read them.


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