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Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard


by Kirsten Hubbard

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Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard is the story of Bria, an 18 year old, newly graduated high school student as she travels to the countries of Guatemala and Belize. As she takes the plunge and leaves the safety of her tour group to take up back packing with brother and sister, Rowan and Starling, why she is traveling alone, her pain about the break-up with her boyfriend, and the reason she has given up her art are slowly revealed.

Although I am far from the target audience for this book, it is a well told story about getting past the curves that life throws at you and about learning to move forward. By jumping off into the unknown, Bria also learns that her feelings of self-worth are not dependant on others, but rather on herself. By healing and absorbing these life lessons, she is also able to guide Rowan forward and they are able to make plans together for the future.

If I had read this book at a young age, I am sure I would have grabbed a backpack and hit the road. The descriptions of Mayan ruins, beautiful Caribbean beaches, and local markets are exotic, Her tales of the back packing life has an authentic ring. Wanderlust was a pleasant surprise with the added bonus of being illustrated by some of the author’s own drawings. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Mar 21, 2014 |
I won this book in a giveaways (SQUEE!) a while back~
Wanderlove is a story of a girl learning to become independent, of finding out just what she can do and how strong she can really be, and of healing.

There is definitely something charming about this whole story.

First, there is the TRAVELING. It was really lovely seeing all these different places I've never been to through the eyes of the characters. I always enjoy travel books because I feel like it's me going far and wide and seeing all these sights ;) And here, it was ten times more beautiful both because of the sights and how we got to see them (We saw things only 'expert backpackers do', but saw them with the excitement and freshness of a traveling newbie)

And to the sights were added THE DRAWINGS
The book is filled with illustrations, as Bria, the main character is an artist. I was told the author is the one who drew them, and they really are gorgeous and added to the story...

To read this review and more, go to my blog Drugs Called Books ( )
  Nitzan_Schwarz | Sep 25, 2013 |
This book really resonated with me, as it took me back to a time in my life when I backpacked for 7 weeks as an 18-year-old. The details were slightly different, but the essence of what it is like to be a young nonconformist and off-the-beaten-path wanderer was really well-captured. Loved this quote from the book: "You got to find your own places. The places you get, girl, the ones that stick in your heart. And if you're lucky, you find people to share them with." If you love traveling, you'll appreciate this one. ( )
  jacquiemak | Sep 22, 2013 |
I'll write a longer review when I'm not so exhausted but I'll simply say for now that Wanderlove is a wonderful, extremely readable book about discovery, the uncertainties of life and the realisation that it's okay not to have everything sorted out right away. Packed full of deftly developed characters and an extremely relatable heroine with depths and complexities, one who makes mistakes, realises this and grows accordingly, this book is wonderfully refreshing and realistic in ways too many YA novels these days aren't. While there were some pacing issues, that didn't turn me off and I found Wanderlove to be so warm and inviting, full of the love and wonder for its characters and world in many of the same ways a travel guide describes its chosen places.

(I promise I'll write a better review soon!) ( )
  Ceilidhann | Sep 20, 2013 |
Sadly, Wanderlove ended up being a disappointment for me. It seemed like a perfect combination: Central American jungles Caribbean Sea Mayan ruins romance = great book, right? For the most part, each of these elements was individually great and they meshed well to create a nice traveler coming-of-age tale. What bothered me about Wanderlove was the voice of Bria, our 18 year old protagonist.

Superficially, it seems like Bria should be amiable and relatable. She’s smart and kind but not in a superlative way; this girl, like everyone, has her flaws. Most of hers stem from a failed high school relationship that not only broke her heart but also stole her zest for life, particularly her passion for art. I was so ready to jump into Bria’s shoes, throw her backpack over my shoulders, and follow her adventurous tale of self-discovery…but then she just got really really annoying. Since Wanderlove is written in first person, we become privy to every single foolish thought and anxiety of our protagonist. I like damaged characters with fears and imperfections, but it becomes tiresome to read a never-ending log of low self-esteem and paranoia of outside judgment. If Bria had been presented as brimming with self-confidence, it wouldn’t have been true to her character, but I wish Hubbard could have presented Bria’s insecurities in a less pathetic way.

Another problem with Bria and some of the novel’s other characters was their manufactured drama. I am so sick of unrealistic conflict that could be solved with a few words or a small dose of common sense. Much of Wanderlove ‘s plot revolves around the fledgling and troubled relationship of Bria and Rowan, her seasoned backpacker companion with a mysterious past. I disliked the plot’s focus on the relationship drama, mostly because I didn’t understand why any of the drama existed. For example, at one point Bria becomes angry at Rowan after he confesses to lying about the ability of lighting to strike boats in order to make her less scared during an ocean thunderstorm. I scoffed at Bria’s anger over this white lie since in no way did it harm her. If anything, Bria should be touched that Rowan cares so much to make her feel comfortable. It shouldn’t be an issue but non-sensical arguments over circumstances like this form the basis of their relationship, and consequently, the entire book. Bria repeatedly mentions how awkward their relationship is, but I didn’t feel it at all. Sure, they were still getting to know each other, but it wasn’t so bad! Most of the time they were joking, talking, and learning about each other. Their relationship is one of the more realistic ones in YA, but there was too much bogus drama.

If you ignore the overblown interpersonal conflicts and Bria’s incessantly discussed insecurities, though, Wanderlove is good book. It explores issues often neglected in YA, like what to do if your boyfriend is a jerkface (many YA heroines see this as a good attribute), how to overcome past personal struggles, and how to determine who you want to be as you straddle childhood and adulthood. Hubbard has a much better handle on realistic teenage situations than many authors. Her characters swear, drink, do drugs, and have sex, just like normal teens. She found the perfect balance between over the top badassery and ludicrous conservatism. I think I most appreciated Wanderlove for the many fantasies it provided. The novel’s central theme is encapsulated in this Georgia O’Keefe quote that served as a chapter epigraph: “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life—and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” Like Bria and Georgia O’Keefe, I’d be scared to pack up for a solitary adventure in Central America. But after reading Wanderlove I really just want to go there and go other places, unpackage and travel the world like it’s a gift. I want to live in the moment.
( )
  IAmChrysanthemum | Jun 8, 2013 |
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Bria, an aspiring artist just graduated from high school, takes off for Central America's La Ruta Maya, rediscovering her talents and finding love.

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