Friday, March 16, 2012

Book Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

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 thoughts:
“Hearing about vacations is like hearing about dreams – no one cares except the person who’s experienced them.” I would say that Kristen Hubbard proved herself wrong with this quote from Wanderlove, because I not only enjoyed reading about Bria and Rowan’s travels, I felt as if I was experiencing their journey through Central America alongside them.

Wanderlove is very much a homage to travel. We follow Bria as she embarks on a journey through Central America, although everything does not go as she had envisioned. I loved how Bria had this desire to prove to her friends, and to herself, that she is both adventurous and spontaneous, and even if she knows that’s not who she is, that is who she becomes as she backpacks around with Rowan.

The setting was my favorite part of this story. Every destination, from the breathtakingly beautiful to the downright dirty, is brought to life through realistic descriptions of both the places and the people who live there. And the best part of all? That Kristen Hubbard has drawn much of Bria’s art into the book! These are really good drawings, and I loved how it let me see the art along with the story.

Bria makes a very believable first-time backpacker, and Rowan is the perfect well-traveled bad boy gone good. The tension between the two grows thick, and I was really cheering for the two of them to just get it on already. But of course there’s more to the story than that. Bria and Rowan try to keep moving forward, but at some point they will both have to face their past.

I loved how, even as I was getting toward the end of the book, I did not know how I wanted it to end. The characters had to come to their own conclusion, and in the end it was the perfect way for the story to end. Wanderlove was not only an amazingly good book, but it made me very restless to get out to travel. I have three trips planned for the year, Las Vegas, ALA Anaheim, and Paris and Norway, but I am already thinking about a trip to Central America next spring!

What is your dream travel destination?

Gorgeous! I would definitely pick up this book based on the cover alone.

My rating of this book:

Want to know more?
Add Wanderlove to your Goodreads wish list
Visit Kirsten Hubbard's website
Follow Kirsten on Twitter

Full disclosure:
ARC received from Netgalley

This book can be purchased from a number of local retailers and online book stores like Amazon and The Book Depository (I'm not an affiliate of either). The latter store has free shipping to about 100 countries.


  1. This book sounds great, we all need self-discovery. Mine happened after I had kids, I found out what kind of wife and mother I wanted to be based on all the mistakes I had made before I met my true love. Love this review, the cover is a reason just to start reading. Wonderful and beautiful to look at.
    My dream travel plans, someplace beautiful and a beach with no one on it for miles, just me and my love. That sounds wonderful, somewhere like Bella's honeymoon in Breaking Dawn. Someplace thats only in a dream but reality!!!! Sounds good.

  2. I definitely want to read this book. It Sounds so interesting and I can't wait to read this!!

  3. Great review! I've read this one some time ago and if there is ever a book I'd base my travel plans on it's this one. Thank you for sharing! :)

  4. I have heard so many people raving about this book! I keep waiting to see someone who doesn't like it, but it just hasn't happened yet. I think that means this needs to move to the top of my to buy list!

    Irene (Colorado Springs Boiler Repair)


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)