Writing this review, I’m fresh from reading it. I don’t whether to smile or cry. I’m even not sure where to begin. But here’s a summary for now: Just graduated from high school, Bria wants to escape. She wants to be the person she thinks she always wanted to be: a Global Vagabond. So she joins a travel group on a trip to Central America to see the Mayan ruins. However, once she gets there, the Global Vagabonds aren’t exactly what she expected. Disappointed, she takes a chance and leaves the group to join two young professional backpackers, Starling & Rowan. On this new adventure, Bria learns about life, love and herself.
Bria is sort of in a rut when the novel begins and that was immediately something I could relate to. She’s desperate to find any way to get out of her funk and be the person she wants to be. So, she hops on a plane to Guatemala. She’s so concerned about looking the part, like a well-traveled cool backpacker chick. But she soon realizes that she does not look the part at all. Her hang-up on wanting to look the part was a bit of a turn-off for me in the beginning; yet, I totally understood how she felt. When I was younger, I always wanted to look a certain way, so people can think of me in a certain way, when in reality that didn’t reflect the truth about myself. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has never done that.
As she goes off with Starling and Rowan, slowly Bria comes to terms to with her past. She’s simultaneously moving forward and working out the past. As she becomes more self-assured, we get to understand and love Bria so much more. She loved to draw but an ex-boyfriend took her love of art away from her. As she experiences more of what Central America has to offer, she can’t help but fight her urge to draw once again. At the same rate, her relationship with elusive Rowan grows as they slowly open up to each other about their pasts. I found that I had so much in common with Bria that every time she spoke another truth about herself, I felt I was doing the same. It’s scary to make yourself vulnerable like that, and Bria brings so much insight to her feelings and situations. I learned so much about life from this book, which I found surprising to be honest. I can make a bullet point list of all things that Wanderlove has enlighten me about, but really it’s something that you should discover on your own while reading the book.
Never considered visiting Central America before? Well, this book will change your mind, without a doubt. The author paints the Guatemalan and Belizean landscape lovingly. You can tell she’s been there before, and you know that she loves it by how she describes it. It made me want to go there just so I can love it too. The funny thing is that the author doesn’t gloss over all the “non-luxurious” parts of backpacking in Central America. Bria and company “rough it out” with cold showers, chicken buses, bug bites, uncomfortable hostel bunks, etc. So let’s put it this way: I have a RIDICULOUSLY terrible bug phobia, and I still want to go backpacking in Guatemala and Belize.
I have yet to have that BIG journey in my life that Bria embarks in Wanderlove. It totally reminded me how time is wasting. It also gave me a chance to think about my life and the things I love. Bria realized that the things she truly loves will come back to her. I can’t emphasize how true that is. I used to draw all of the time myself, and one day I lost it because of someone. But time passes and wounds heal, and I found myself digging through my closet searching desperately for my art box. At the time, I didn’t think much about drawing again, but now I realized that moment was a bigger deal than I thought. I found a part of myself that day, and I found out a lot about myself today after reading Wanderlove. I think it’s possible that you will too.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard releases March 13, 2012. You can pre-order Wanderlove from our TYF Store by clicking here!
Publisher: Delacorte Press (March 13, 2012)
Length: 352 pages, Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Travel, Adventure, Romance, Self-Discovery
Ages: 14 & up
Completed: January 2012