Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review: Wanderlove

Title: Wanderlove
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Format: Paperback
Publication: March 13, 2012
SummaryIt 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.

Review: In my opinion the way to tell a good book apart from a great/fantastic/amazing book (aka the difference between 4 or 5 stars) is the following days after you finish reading the book. Some books I love the entire time I'm reading them, but as soon as I finish them I immediately forget about them. Then there are the other types of books. The ones that you finish and love and can't stop thinking about (so you spend a couple hours searching for stuff on tumblr or goodreads about them). The ones that you wake up the next day still thinking about them. Unable to get them out of your head. Those are the books that become a part of your "all time favorites" list.

Wanderlove is one of those books. It is definitely in the top two favorites of books that I've read this year. It's not leaving that list anytime soon. I will probably reread it. Maybe more than once.

I think my high opinion of this book probably has more to do with me than it does with the book itself. It's a very well written book, the characters are great, the plot works and it's interesting. It's definitely a five star book. But, it is even more than just a 5 star book to me because I love the idea of wanderlove. I love the leave everything behind and set out on an adventure feel to this book. Literally two chapters into this book I was already coming down with a severe case of wanderlust (I googled backpacking tours because I'm not as hardcore as the backpackers in this book). I love the characters who are more focused on being and experiencing than anything else. I love the hippy feel that completely encompasses this novel. In my eyes it is perfect.

Bria is a very likable main character. She's realistic and her struggle is one that is easy to relate to. Her decisions, even the bad ones, never made me want to hit myself in the head with the book. The way she adapted to being a real traveler made me respect her. The way that she just took a leap and joined Rowan and Starling traveling "off the beaten path" made me wish I was her. I wish that I was able to take a chance like that. Not many people would. 

Rowan is perfect. Not in the he doesn't have any flaws type of way because he definitely has those. He's perfect in the "if I ever get married this is the type of man I want to marry" type of way. As much as I love charming, sweet talking, swag-tastic, love interests that are found in majority of books, Rowan's more of my actually type. Not that he isn't charming, but he is in more of a quiet, thoughtful way. He sees the world through different eyes than most people. 

Another thing I loved about this novel is that it didn't fall in to the easy cliche that I had been expecting. When I think about a novel about a girl who is traveling in Central America all by herself the first assumption I make is that there will be some point in the book where she is attacked for being naive. Whether it's being drugged or getting too drunk and someone trying to take advantage of her or even just taking help from someone who has nefarious intentions. This is what we all hear about when it comes to traveling in foreign countries. I totally expected it in this book and I was so glad that that cliche is not what this book was about. The author is a traveler herself and so I feel she showed us what traveling is really all about.

Wanderlove had been on my radar since sometime last year. I wanted to read it but not bad enough that I actually ordered it online or search for a bookstore I could find it in. It was one of those books that stays on your TBR pile for a long time. One that every time you think about it you think "I really need to read that book" but somehow you still end up putting it off. As luck may have it, I randomly came across it in Barnes and Noble last week and I just knew I had to get it. I started reading it the second I got home and didn't put it down until I finished it later that night. After I'd finished it all I could think was "I can't believe I waited THAT long to read that freaking book!" as I often do when I put off reading books that really catch my eye.

I seriously recommend that EVERYONE reads this book asap. Don't put it off like I did! Just go out and get it now. Especially if you are turned on by the idea of backpacking in a foreign scenery. You will love this book and you will not regret it.

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