Book Reviews

Review: “Wanderlove,” Kirsten Hubbard

November 3, 2011

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: “Wanderlove,” Kirsten HubbardWanderloveby Kirsten Hubbard
Series: Standalone
Published by Delacorte on March, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Travel
Pages: 335
Source: Netgalley

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.

I’m not going to beat around the bush. Order this book now. If you’re a fan of contemporary reads, you don’t want to miss Wanderlove. Deeply inspirational and highly enjoyable, it’s what every YA contemp ought to be! An instant favourite!

As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I’d fall in love with Wanderlove. This story ticks all the boxes. Travel abroad? Check! Great leading lady? Check! A great love interest who is more real than fictional? Check! Side-splitting commentary about the dangers of ‘third-world’ country water? Check! (Oh, dear, I’m still laughing about bugs that may crawl up the ‘pee-hole’)

Quite simply, Wanderlove is pure magic. If you’re not a seasoned globe-trotter, you’ll find yourself wanting to pick up the nearest backpack and start walking. If you are a traveler, I’m sure you’ll be wanting to dig up your passport again. Kirsten Hubbard captures perfectly what it IS to travel and discover things outside your comfort zone. Her characters also portray such an essence of freedom, of individuality.

I’m talking about Rowan, mostly. Queue sighs. I can’t help but watch in awe when contemporary authors carefully reveal and unfold their characters in such realistic ways. They take someone who could be as bland as a cardboard box and weave them into someone solid and real. Perfect. But that’s just the thing – they’re not perfect. Their flaws and setbacks are what makes them so utterly brilliant. Although I do marvel at Bria and her wonderful voice in the story, I can’t help but carve out a special place in my heart for Rowan and Starling.

I also want to mention how beautiful the art was throughout this book (done by Kirsten Hubbard herself). There’s not too much of it, sadly, but what was shown was so perfect and integral to the story. It also popped up at the best of times – in the moments when a particular feeling or event really resonated. It really encapsulated the magic that the events of Wanderlove stirred up in the characters and the reader.

Bria was fantastically witty and enjoyable to ‘live’ through. She had her problems – which was the basis for her trip to Central America – and although they held her back at times, I thought she was ridiculously brave to follow her heart. I loved that she was able to appreciate everything around her, and wasn’t afraid to tell things as she saw them. Her conversation with Rowan on the hammock – about him being judgemental of anyone that had means to travel in ‘luxury’ – really rang true and I felt like doing little fist-pumps whenever she defended her beliefs. As much as she admired Rowan and Starling, and as much as she wanted to be like them – she didn’t try to mould herself into little replicas like so many would have.

Wanderlove is a 2012 release – but I can tell you I will be buying a hard-copy of this book as soon as it’s available. It’s just one of those stories you know you’ll be able to read and enjoy all over again. Kirsten Hubbard brings another perfect contemporary to the table – one that ranks extremely high in staying power and the ability to wrench your heart out. I highly recommend this one!

Recommended to: Contemporary fans will ADORE Wanderlove, as will readers of rich and inspiring tales of travel and adventure.

About Kirsten Hubbard

In search of transcendent backdrops for her novels, Kirsten Hubbard has hiked ancient ruins in Cambodia, dived with wild dolphins in Belize (one totally looked her in the eye), slept in a Slovenian jail cell, and navigated numerous desert apocalypses (usually in face paint and combat boots). But she always comes home to California.


  • Reply Cass (Words on Paper) December 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Perfectly said! I just finished it last night and I don’t know how you retained your cool while writing that review. Haha, I wish I could say I were as successful. Glad you loved this too. :)

  • Reply Spotlight on New Adult Literature: Wanderlove | Reclusive Bibliophile December 5, 2011 at 2:31 am

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  • Reply Cindy November 7, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Great review! This sounds really awesome and I look forward to reading it :)

  • Reply Ashley November 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Wonderfully awesome review!! Seriously. I was already crazy excited for this because I loved Like Mandarin, but wow. Who wouldn’t want to read this book after reading this post?! Love! :)

  • Reply A. Knight November 3, 2011 at 11:55 am

    So, I got this on NetGalley as well, but wasn’t totally sold on it. I really am now. A fabulous review that makes me want to pick this book up immediately…

    – Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

    • Reply Brittany November 3, 2011 at 11:56 pm

      Thanks, Asher! You really need to read it – it’s fantastic. If you love great contemporaries, you’ll love this one! Such an adventure with great relationships!

  • Reply Danya November 3, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Wow, I love the sound of this one even more now! Your review just radiates enthusiasm for the characters and writing of this book. Travel provides such potential for amazing adventures in a story…I definitely want to read this one!

    • Reply Brittany November 3, 2011 at 11:57 pm

      I’m so glad! Travel books are some of my favourites, too! :D I hope you enjoy Wanderlove!

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