Wanderlove – Kirsten Hubbard
As my mother is fond of pointing out, most of my experiences, especially having to do with traveling, are “the best ever!”
This is fair.
If it involves getting on a plane, it’s safe to assume I’ve already fallen in love. Even if it’s a road trip, I’m good. Add in boats, bikes and backpacks and you may never get me home.
For this reason, I felt totally connected with Hubbard’s Wanderlove.
I should start with a disclaimer that it has to be taken as fantasy since some basic details about, you know, parents…go missing as they do in most YA novels. However, the book is better taken as a Magic Eye painting, you know? Like, cool if you stop paying attention to the details and let your eyes go blurry for a little bit.
The story is centered around soon-to-be college freshman Bria. After a bitter break up, she signs herself up for a guided group tour through Guatemala for a change of pace before beginning her next leg of school. Upon arrival, it becomes clear that her “play it safe” strategy found her playing it way too safe. As she watches hip, carefree backpackers saunter off into the city, she finds herself bogged down by a bunch of loser adult tourists who are totally uncool.
Obviously, because this is a book and not my personal nightmare, Bria manages to remedy the situation but I can’t tell you how or I’d have to kill you.
Basically, know that she befriends some super funky and fun backpackers (who my mom will recognize as the troupe of backpackers from our Costa Rica trip) and life changing hijinks ensue.
I liked Bria for the most part but there were parts where I just wanted to reach into the book and shake her. From the start of the story, we get bits and pieces of what seems to be a very rocky relationship she carries on with art. Much of that has to do with a former boyfriend who I wanted to drop kick for the entirety of the book. Because of the memory of the Grade A Jerkwad, she does some fairly self-deprecating, self-destructive things but then, we all go down those roads at our low points.
Overall, I adored most of the book. I think that there were parts that resonated with me more since I’ve been in that area and have lived for months at a time in south America. Still, I think that it will appeal to people who have traveled, will travel or who simply dream of traveling. It’s filled with beautiful scenes, Caribbean parties and serious bites from The Travel Bug. It’s a perfect one heading into summer and I only wish I had some sunset to hike off into or some sunrise to watch from the top of a Mayan ruin.