Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers.
Release Date: March 13, 2012.
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.
Before we begin, let me get this out of my system: I LOVE THIS BOOK. I LOVE THIS BOOK. OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH LA LA LAAA. Okay, I'm done. Now that the fangirling part is out of the way, we can move on to some of my non-crazy thoughts about the book.
Two things about me: I have anxiety and I'm not spontaneous at all. For someone like me, skimming to the bare necessities and backpacking around a foreign subcontinent just isn't plausible. I know this. I'm aware of this. But after reading Wanderlove, I have this intense desire to hop a plane to Central America and explore everything for myself. Wow. Bravo to Hubbard for writing the most beautiful and detailed scenery descriptions. I could pretty much paint a clear picture of every village and island in my head.
But aside from the gorgeous scenery, this book also had a spectacular cast of characters. Bria discovered herself a little bit more with each chapter and to think of her character from the first chapter to the last, how she changes and matures, is absolutely amazing. And I adored Rowan. I kind of wanted to punch him in the face toward the beginning, but nearing the end I kept screaming "STAY WITH HIM, BRIA. STAY WITH HIM FOREVERRR!" at my e-reader.
And there are DRAWINGS. I think I've expressed a time or two how much I love when books incorporate visual aids onto the pages. And since Bria spends the entire novel being hush-hush about her sketchbook, this was a big deal. We were getting to see what she fought so fiercely to hide from the other characters. And the sketches of the animals and scenery were awesome, but I thought it was particularily cool that we got to see her sketches of Rowan and Starling.
Overall, words cannot justify how insanely captivated I was by Wanderlove. There isn't a single negative thing I can say about this novel. It's emotional, romantic, beautifully written and one of the most visually stunning books I've ever read. (And if you don't think books can be visually stunning, read this book and try rebutting that statement.) I urge everyone to read this book, even if you're not a huge contemporary fan.
Other reviews for Wanderlove:
365 Days of Reading.
The Book Swarm.
More Than True.