Publisher: Delacorte Press
Location: Central America (Belize, Guatemala)
Bria is trying to get over a bad breakup and attempting to find herself again. So when she gets a pamphlet advertising a trip to Central America, she signs up. For the wrong tour. She eventually escapes and finds herself backpacking across an area she knows nothing about with Rowan, an actual backpacker who she also knows nothing about. It will either be a complete disaster, or the adventure of a lifetime.
At first, I was enjoying Wanderlove, but nothing more. As the story went on, though, I found myself entirely immersed in Bria's journey and completely in love with this book.
Central America is not a place I know much about. Mostly, I've heard a few horror stories, but really nothing else. Kirsten Hubbard has not only made me want to learn about the history and the current state of Central America, but to visit the islands someday, as well. She does a fantastic job of depicting this part of the world. While she doesn't circumvent the issues of poverty, drugs, and disease-ridden bugs, she shows all of the beauty and culture that news reports leave out. The turquoise seas, the amazing sounding food, and the vivacious spirit of the people are all contained within this novel's pages.
One aspect of Wanderlove that I really enjoyed and that I thought added to the book were the sketches. Bria's passion for art, and her struggle with it, are key to this novel and I loved that the reader is able to see some of her work. The most impressive part of this is that all of the illustrations are done by Kirsten Hubbard herself and she's quite the talented artist.
All of the characters are done well. I wish there had been a bit more of Glenna, professional beadworker, because I found her really amusing. She's hardly the most important character in the book, though, so I understand why she isn't featured more. Rowan is a refreshing YA male character- he's thoughtful, compassionate, and a little rough-around-the-edges. He keeps to himself, but opens up as the story progresses.
I could go on and on about all the other fantastic points of Wanderlove, but I think it would be better if you just read it yourself.
Quote from this Book: "You can't control the past, but you can control where you go next."
Have you ever backpacked anywhere? Or do you plan to someday?