Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wanderlove - a review

Kristen Hubbard
352 pages
Delacorte Books

So here's a stupid question. Are you a Global Vagabond? That's what Bria Sandoval asks herself one day (after a breakup with her boyfriend, of course). She answers yes and decides to go to Guatemala. While there she meets the charming and handsome and mysterious* Rowan. (Rowan's sister is also there but only for about 20 pages.) The three leave behind Bria's tour group and decide to go to Belize so Bria can draw pictures of things and find herself.

Bria's got First World problems in a Third World country, basically.

Bria spends her time thinking about college and her future in America. She draws and thinks about art school. Rowan tells Bria constantly "When you're traveling you live now, in the moment." So she gets all cute by writing down Rowan's travel rules and not following them. These rules are listed throughout the book along with Bria's drawings.

(insert "I didn't know I was in love with this person until this moment" love story paragraph)

There's other parts that are charming as well: the descriptions of Central America, the descriptions of the food, the local customs, drinks, local sights, descriptions of other tourists, etc. There's also a barf part and a drunk part and a boat.

There's Kristen Hubbard's writing style which I fell into sync with automatically.***

There's a lot to like here.

And I like a good travel novel as much as the next guy, and I liked Wanderlove, but I spent the entire book trying to figure out what future this 18-year-old female character was going to pick. Because going into this one we all that there's only three outcomes.

1. Bria runs away with Rowan and never returns home.
2. Bria leaves Rowan and returns home.
3. Bria and Rowan die of dysentery.

Meaning that I completely missed the point of the novel.

Meaning that Kristen Hubbard is a saucy tart with a penchant for tricking her audience. To Kristen Hubbard: I see what you did here.

See, Wanderlove isn't a travel novel. Yes, its plot is about traveling through Central America, but this is much more of a "get the fuck over it and live your life" novel. This is a novel for getting over a shitty relationship. This is about a girl getting over a breakup and a boy trying to overcome his past. That's the kind of books I like.

Full Disclosure: I checked this out from the Louisville Free Public Library.
*Mysteriousness is the key ingredient in a male character these days.**
**Also, random tattoos.
***I don't know about other people, but I need at least 30 pages to adapt to a new authors writing style. It's something about learning how they use their comas and other punctuation.


  1. Guess it will go back on my TBR pile.

    1. I'm so inbetween on this one. I feel like I'm still making my mind up about it. But right now I'm liking it.

  2. Your description of this book reminds me of the movie The Art of Travel, which is amazing and one of my all-time favorites. OMG YOU SHOULD WATCH IT ITS SO GOOD I CANT EVEN HARDLY TALK ABOUT IT ITS THE BEST EVER TOTALLY IN MY TOP FIVE!!!

    I was not drinking coffee, but I did laugh out loud.

    I have this book but mine is on the Kindle. I would expect the opposite: yours read on the Kindle and mine read in print because WOW that cover is prettyish.

    1. I think I've seen that movie...

      There's also images in the book, so I'm not sure how well they would translate over to the Kindle.

  3. HMM! This book has been on my TBR pile because even though it generally has positive reviews, it's not really appealing to me. I was finally going to try to read it today but will probably put it off more now, ha. It's funny how all those three outcomes are tied with Rowan. The descriptions sound lovely in this book though and I'm glad you read Kristen Hubbard's writing easily!

    1. I can understand the mostly positive reviews. It's a neat little book. I just found most of the high praise to be... not justified. I wouldn't suggest not read it, I would just say take your time, there's no rush.

  4. I really loved this one. Nothing irritates me more than girls who date/stay with guys who are asshats. I loved that she and Rowan were not the typical characters that you expect to see in YA, especially in the "getting over a breakup" section.

    1. I liked those parts as well. I was really hoping that they parted ways, both taking something away from their encounter. But oh well. The book is still worth a gander.

  5. I LOVED this book. I'm a little late to the discussion - but I saw it under your Enclave review, even though this book does not relate to that one at all. I love to travel and this book gave me tremendous nostalgia and made me wish I was 18 again. Although I wasn't quite the traveler these people were, I was in Belize when I was 18, and I dive so maybe it's just that I connected to the book because of that.

    I am really big on imagining my characters as real people and thinking of them beyond where they are right now. How will this relationship realistically work in the future etc.? It seems that you are saying that that was one of the issues you had with this couple...I definitely thought about that for Bria and Rowan. But I think at the end we do get a glimpse of where they will be and maybe that it could work for them to be together. I'm GLAD that Bria didn't give up college to travel with Rowan forever. And that Rowan started thinking beyond this moment. So even if she does leave him or he can't handle life in LA, they each helped the other out a bit.

    Okay I will stop before I gush on and on. If you want to read my review it's here: Wanderlove. But seriously, you don't have to click that. You're probably way beyond thinking about this book. I'm just still excited about it. And I just got The Art of Travel from the library per Asheley's suggestion, so I'm thinking about it even more.

    1. Hmm. It's weird how that little app thing works and links things. I have always wanted to travel but have only been as far as Canada. I'm a city type of guy myself. So I can't understand the appeal of Belize.

      I would like to think that Bria and Rowan knocked some sense into each other. That in the end (after time) they didn't end up together. But instead as friends and travel buddies. Maybe every year they meet up in a random part of the world and go on an adventure? That's what I would like to think happened to them.

      I still think about this book. I find it hard not to look at some fruit and think to myself "is this going to explode with insects?"

    2. Well I like my characters to be TOGETHER FOREVER. BUT I get what you're saying. This definitely took a turn for traditional YA romance, and I see where it would have been interesting without as much of that element. But the great thing is that this book ends and you can decide for yourself where you want them to be.

      Yeah the scary bugs and dangerous water sources are not something I like about traveling in tropical places. I'm pretty sure I had to get all sorts of shots before I went to Belize. My sister spent a semester in the Dominican Republic and ended up with a parasite so the DON'T DRINK THE WATER warning is real. I'm sure you didn't want to know that info, sorry.


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