Wanderlove is the second book from author, Kirsten Hubbard. I didn't get a chance to read her debut, Like Mandarin, but the idea of the character traveling in Central America, in Wanderlove, intrigued me. When the opportunity to snag an e-galley presented itself, I grabbed it. It's a YA contemporary story. Check out the description...
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.
Every so often I make a visit to the author's blog. Once, she posted about her angst about being a midlist author, this meaning one who sells steadily, but has not broken out with a bestseller. Let me tell you, she shouldn't worry. The girl can write! It's tough for authors who write contemporary, realistic fiction in a world awash in all things paranormal, but Hubbard is a skilled writer. Wanderlove is a fresh, taut, contemporary romance that keeps the reader fully engaged in the story.
The author is a travel writer and her expertise and experience clearly shined through in the story. I knew she wasn't just making stuff up. I've wanted to travel to Belize and actually filed away some of the travel "rules and suggestions" the character made in the story! What I didn't know is that Hubbard is a skilled artist as well and did her own illustrations for the book! It was kind of fascinating to see the illustrations and compare them to the images of the characters and the goings-on that I had in my imagination as I read. It's cool to see a YA story with pictures; this is so rare.
Wanderlove isn't just a romantic story, but it is one of self-discovery. Sometimes I found myself annoyed at the main character, Bria, for some of her decisions, but this is a testimony to Hubbard's skill in making the protagonists so real and fully fleshed out.
It's a fresh, engaging young adult romance. Once you start, you'll want to know what this couple is going to do with their lives and with each other. Hubbard doesn't make it easy and keeps you guessing right till the end.
Wanderlove releases March 13, 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers.
I'm an aspiring YA writer, working my way toward publication. I also love animals and this is a picture of one of the sweethearts in my life. Please do all you can to help and care for the animals of the world, especially the domestic ones. They depend on us to care. Love never goes out of style...