Friday, March 16, 2012

Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

From Goodreads: 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. 

My Rating: 5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Lately I’ve been reading a lot of books that have I’ve been feeling pretty ‘meh’ about. So when I picked up Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard, little did I expect to fall in love with it. Since I’m now having a hard time trying to describe how I feel about Wanderlove, here are five reasons why you should read it immediately:
  1. The setting: I’ve never been to Central America, but Hubbard conveys the culture and vibe of the places Bria visits so vividly that I felt as if I had. After reading Wanderlove, I wanted to drop everything, board a plane and backpack through all the places mentioned just so I could actually see them in person! 
  2. The characters: Every single character, regardless of how big or small their role, played an important part in Bria’s travel experience. Hubbard’s characters felt like real people, and I could easily imagine encountering someone similar abroad. 
  3. The journey to self-rediscovery: As much as Wanderlove involves a physical journey, there’s also a mental journey. After defining herself through her horrible boyfriend and being dumped by him, Bria wants to discover who she is without him and regain her passion for art. Meanwhile, Rowan – he’s a bibliophile! – is trying to forget about his past and become a better person. The two grew so much as characters, and I loved watching them open themselves up to each other and to new experiences. 
  4. The subtle romance: Neither Bria nor Rowan are each other’s type, but they do manage to forge a friendship. Despite some flirting early on, I really liked that the two came up with a list of subjects off-limits and clearly defined themselves as friends and nothing more because it gave them a chance to learn about each other through meaningful conversations, without any sort of underlying awkwardness about their relationship or what topics they could broach. Of course setting parameters on their relationship creates some delightful tension later on. 
  5. The drawings: How could I not talk about the drawings drawn by Hubbard herself?! They’re simply amazing!
A contemporary that will easily be among my favourite books of this year, Wanderlove was released on March 13, 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers. 

Comments About the Cover: I like the simplicity of the cover. But, it gives you absolutely no clues as to what the story is about.

In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Random House) for free via NetGalley.    


  1. Again, you're a book ahead of me. Seems like everyone was reading and loving Wanderlove this week. I've already heard about how awesome those illustrations are and I can't wait to see for myself.

    Oooo, and the way you've described the friendship-romance...delightful totally know stuff like that always convinces me.

    Love your review style for this one, Z. I'm ready to jump on a plane with you and head to CA for some backpacking adventures, even though I haven't read the book yet!

  2. EVERYONE RAVES. And now, you too! I guess this is a sign I should read it, it sounds amazing. Fantastic review! :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  3. I'm in desperate need of a great contemporary novel! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. I did not know there were pictures in this. That coupled with the subtle romance and makes me really want to read this now.

  5. Ohhh, I'm SO happy that you loved this book too, Z! (Everyone I know seems to!) And I LOVE the way you wrote this review on a list, because it created a mental checklist in my head for an awesome book along the way: Awesome setting? Check! Awesome romance? Check! Awesome characters? Double check! And a plus with the illustrations -- that's so cool! :)

    Amazing review, Z! I'm super-excited to get my hands on this one! ;)

  6. OMG dear! are you serious? is that good? I dont know why, but I wasnt expecting such an awesome review. Shame on me! It is easy to find good contemporary novels, but very hard to get to one that will engage readers so much as did one did with you. I had no idea there were illustration in the book, needless to say that I had no idea they were made by Hubbard herself. I'll definitely check this one out! It sounds like my kind of book, self-discovery, great characters and a bit of romance. Im totally in to learn more from a well-tought novel =D

    thanks so much for sharing my sweet ^___^
    I hope you are doing good in school. In my case... final research papers, practicum, and upcoming oral presentations are killing me.. snif... two more weeks to go and Im free aaaah!!!

    Good luck to you my dear! ^.^

    Btw, I think I asked you once but Im not sure or I might have forgotten... What is your name dear? I dont mind if it's private though =)

  7. Yes, this book was wonderful! It definitely made me want to jump onto the next flight out of here and maybe discover myself along the way, just like Bria did. :) Asdfghjkl. The drawings were so amazing and so was the story! Ah, I'm so happy to hear that you loved this one. So did I. :) LOVE YOUR REVIEW :D

  8. I always love these sort of point form style of reviews that you do. Everything is laid out so clearly, no point gets lost in a paragraph. The book itself sounds great! I always love it when you find that one book that breaks you out of your reading funk!

  9. MUST READ THIS!!!!! I seriously haven't found a single bad review for this book. Not one. And that means I need to get my butt in gear and pick this book up:) Love the fact that we get a friends-to-lovers (so to speak) storyline, I always love when there is a foundation of friendship before things turn romantic, it adds extra depth I think. Fantastic review Zahida!

  10. I'm so glad you liked it! I LOVED it (which is why I chose it as my March Standalone Spotlight). I think your five reasons are spot on :)


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