my thoughts in a few sentences: I didn't love Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard as everyone else seemed to, however that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I totally did! I'm not very much into roadtripping type books and there have only been a few successes for me, but this isn't a roadtripping book. It's a travel book, and Kristen Hubbard dazzled me with her beautiful descriptions of the places the main character travels that refrain from feeling overdone; her passion comes through loud and clear. And with the main character's arrival, she brings baggage, so much emotion to the story, and it's so simple to sympathize with her personal hurts. Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard teaches how to rediscover oneself in style, sharing with us the pains and beauty of backpacking across exotic places, even as we witness a slow, torturous romance blossom.
interesting first line: "As soon as I see the blond girl bouncing down the aisle, I know she's heading for the empty seat beside me. "
It all begins with a stupid question:Everyone seems to be raving about Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard, and I just couldn't dig it the same way. However, the story has so much going for it. An insecure main character with a problem believing in herself and just general self-confidence gradually discovers what it means to be herself, and how to appreciate her mistakes in the past rather than be discouraged by them. She learns that events in her life that may seem so huge and difficult and significant are actually meaningless and shouldn't stop her from living the way she wants and enjoys. That sense of empowerment alone was enough to get to me to enjoy Wanderlove, as the story shows us how other people's lives are effected by their choices... or the lack thereof, how much worse some people are forced to live because they have no better opportunities to guide them elsewhere, somewhere more desirable and comfortable.
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.
A coming-of-age story, Bria Sandoval has had a tough time recently, all thanks to her douche bag of an ex-boyfriend and her parents who don't seem to care much about what she loves—art, and in her desperation to prove to everyone—her friends, her nasty ex—that she can go off on her own and be her own person, doing what she wants, doing something spontaneous and exciting all by herself, she embarks on a quest for self-discovery with Latin America as her chosen backdrop. In the beginning, she considers vacationing in Europe, which is something expected, an unsurprising destination choice, so the chance to go off and traipse through Mayan ruins and the jungle, for example, seems like the one bright light in her life, a shimmering opportunity that lures her with the promise of glorious possibilities much the same way a small bug becomes transfixed by the light of a bug zapper. At first, her seemingly thrilling journey appears to be as tragic as the fates of those withering insects caught by the aforementioned zapper, as she is forced along for 'amazing adventure' and 'fantastic exploration' with a bunch of Middle-aged, conservative, and basically unfun touristy types that don't really know the meaning of those words. Thankfully, she is saved by two savvy backpackers mostly willing to invite her along.
Bria grabs the spotlight with her depth, emotions, and growth. I wasn't terribly impressed by the sibling duo of Starling and Rowan, though they are pretty essential to the overall plot. We are barely allowed to get to know Starling, though she is the catalyst that nudges both a reluctant Rowan and a wary Bria into continuing their travels together alone. While we are fascinated by Rowan, his troubled, brooding side balanced by his amazingly insightful outlook on the wanderlove-themed life he leads, we wish to feel more of a connection to him even as he gradually reveals pieces of himself to our lovely protagonist. The romantic spark crackling between them is so blatant, yet it incites so much frustration, and that becomes one of our favorite elements of the book, especially when feelings are exchanged and gifted to one another.
Perhaps it's the plot that doesn't inspire complete and all-consuming love for Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard. It seems slow-going and for those of us who are used to even the tiniest bit of action, the languorous pace and events in the story do not quite invite us to feel excited all the time we're reading the tale. However, Kristen's writing easily makes up for any lulls in the plot. The words flow from her and onto the paper with simple beauty and is far from too elaborate. It's as organically gorgeous as the places she vividly introduces us to.
Overall, Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard is simply lovely and successfully transports us to places we never dreamed we'd claim the opportunity to visit, giving us wonderful visuals and remarkable storytelling to take away with us as we depart from the story.