Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Series: No, standalone
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Release date: March 2012
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Read via NetGalley
After finishing high school and breaking up with her boyfriend, Bria decides to rebel against everyone's expectations and travel to Central America on her own. Whilst trying to escape from the things that are holding her back, Bria meets Rowan who is also running from his past. Together they may just go on a journey of self-discovery and Wanderlove.
Review: Reading Wanderlove, I loved how genuine and true to real-life it was, and it took me straight back to my days backpacking. Bria's travels were filled with beauty, fears, danger, and discovery. As a newbie traveller, Bria gets off the plane in Central America wearing her waterproofs and surrounded by middle aged tourists which instantly makes her feel like a sore thumb and very uncool. You can tell that Hubbard has obviously travelled to these places, and she perfectly describes how it feels to land in and travel around a strange, exotic and unfamiliar country. The little lists and drawings that weaved in so well to the plot added realism, humour and insight into the characters.
I really liked and got Bria; I could relate to how Toby had taken over her life and after their break-up left her feeling like she had nothing left, not even art. She put their relationship as a couple first, above her own plans and dreams, to her own detriment. Although she was trying to hide from all of this, Bria still had the guts to go travelling, and face her fears. She was humorous and witty, her narrative reflecting her fears yet also slightly self-mocking at the same time.
Rowan was very mysterious, keeping his dark past hidden from Bria. But like Bria, he felt very real. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if there was a real-life Rowan scuba diving in Central America at this very moment. Rowan and Bria's friendly relationship frustrated and excited me at the same time; you could feel the tension and attraction there but both held back because of their own fears.
I wouldn’t say Wanderlove was fast paced and action packed, but for me that didn’t matter. The story flowed so well, the Central American backdrop absolutely captivated me, and I really wanted to see what happened to Bria (and Bria and Rowan).
Perfect for anyone who wants an insight into what it’s like backpacking or wants to re-live their own travels, you will be inspired you to grab your passport and head off to far flung places. Wanderlove is a great contemporary YA story with strong and real characters that touches on issues such as keeping your own sense of self in a relationship and the transformation of travelling.