March 13th 2012, Delacorte BFYR
352 pages, Hardcover
Young Adult Contemporary
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.
I’ve become a contemp fan partly because of this book. Hearing great things about Wanderlove, I really wanted to pick this book up. They say it’s an adventure story. Well, my sweet readers, it is! It’s also so much more. Kristen Hubbard has shown her creative writing skills in her debut, Like Mandarin, which I love. I was equally blown away by this book.Bria is on a journey. To get away from her emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend, her friends and her parents. She receives a pamphlet to tour Central America, promising a trip full of smiles and fun. Yet even on the plane ride, there is much more to her journey of self-discovery. After accidentally abandoning her limiting group and their timely schedules, she ventures off with Starling and Rowan, two backpackers. Here’s her chance to see everything. This is the freedom she craved! Except that means traveling with the guarded Rowan after Starling rushes off on an emergency.
They are reluctant partners and slow to becoming anywhere near friends. Soon, though, Rowan and Bria share secrets even her closest friends don’t know. Bria is a wicked awesome character. Although she’s just like any regular teen with a penchant for the arts, she’s willing to be adventurous and forget her past for a while. Rowan is a mystery. He’s also dangerous and a past that trails after him. These two characters had some laughably tense times. On every adventure Bria embarks on with Rowan, it makes me want to join them. To sample the food, to experience all the different cultures, and to live off what I pack in my backpack. Luckily, with Mrs. Hubbard’s help, I‘m living vicariously through Bria. Kirsten also has some serious art skills as you see in the drawings dotted in the book.
As I become immersed in her travels and simple surprises along the way, I was also regretting how close I was to the end of the book. Let me tell you, it’s a good one. I’ve caught the travel bug. Kristen Hubbard has done it again! This book is for any fans of contemporary fan or anyone who wants a little piece of adventure.