Katie's Reviews > Wanderlove

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
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Dec 22, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, random-house, contemporaries
Read from March 13 to 14, 2012

Similar Books: Falling in Love with English Boys by Melissa Jensen, Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson, Single Girl Abroad by Kelly Hunter


I was initially declined as a reviewer of this book on NetGalley, and I didn't understand why. Now I do. Random House knew that I would be on vacation in Charleston and force my family to take me to not one but two Barnes & Nobles on release day to get a hardback copy of this book. I was that determined to read it. And let me tell you, people - it was totally worth it!

If you love traveling or have ever been interested in traveling, you need this book. If you like coming of age stories where characters find themselves, you need this book. If you like romance of any kind, you need this book. In short, everyone should read it.

What makes this book great for me was the travel. *Le sigh* I'm a travel junkie myself, but I've never been to Central America so it was like really experiencing it. But for anyone who has traveled in a foreign country (especially a third world country), you'll recognize some classic situations. And that's what really helped me fall in love with the story - because I could so easily relate to Bria as she's experiencing all these crazy new things. The terrible public restrooms, new food, that feeling of being completely and wonderfully lost in a new language and culture.

And I liked the little bits that made it realistic - her getting seasick, being freaked out by bugs in the rain forest, her envying the lives of the well-traveled backpackers, and her carrying around a sketchbook. And speaking of the sketchbook, I loved the drawings included in the book! (And the last one! SO glad that was included!)

I found it HYSTERICAL that Bria wanted to be like the backpackers. And Hubbard described them PERFECTLY! When I've traveled abroad, we always made a game of spotting backpackers and trying to decide if they were American or European (usually the latter). They always looked grungy but in a cool way, with these giant monstrosities on their backs and bandannas around their foreheads. I'm assuming because Hubbard was a backpacker herself, she really put into words their spirit and persona, and I loved that she discussed "first world guilt," which is something that happens (and should happen!) to those of us who venture into third world territory.

Besides the travel aspect (which I could go on and on about), I enjoyed the romance a lot. Rowan isn't your stereotypical love interest. He's a really flawed, interesting character. I can now blame Hubbard for perpetuating my obsession with broken characters because both Rowan and Bria have serious issues - Bria most of all. Their relationship was slow and sweet, and I liked that they became friends first.

As for Bria, I loved that there was actual CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. She changed a lot from the beginning to the end of the story, and it was fascinating to watch her transformation. And while I thought she did some pretty dumb things, I could totally see the motivation. And she owns up to them.

And while we're talking about dumb thing, I need to get this off my chest - a lot of times when I read about these teens going off in other countries alone, I cringe. I've been traveling since the third grade, and it was pounded into my head that safety is always the first consideration. You don't do anything stupid like run off by yourself. So when I saw that Bria was trekking through Central America alone, I freaked out a little. But this issue is addressed! I feel like there's a good message here for those interested in traveling - that you have to remember the locals live like this every day, but it's also stupid for you to take unnecessary risks. Good balance here! Don't think you're going to be kidnapped at every turn like in that Liam Neeson movie "Taken," but also don't go walking down sketchy alleys alone at night.

*Hops off soapbox*

If you can't tell already, I ADORED this book. It's epic. And gorgeous. And if it doesn't make you want to travel, I don't know what will.

And just because I'm a nerd, I added a picture of one of my favorite trips: Thailand #4! (2010) Look, it's me carrying my own backpack! :)

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Reading Progress

03/13/2012 page 81
23.0% "Loving this book! Definitely not disappointing yet!"
03/14/2012 page 165
47.0% "This book is kind of blowing my mind with its awesomeness right now."
03/30/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Jolene (new) - added it

Jolene Perry This is SOOO high on my list! Glad to hear you loved it :-D


Katie Jolene wrote: "This is SOOO high on my list! Glad to hear you loved it :-D"

It's incredible! DEFINITELY read this one!!! :)


Emily (Book Jems) This book was amazing!


Katie Emily (Ed and Em's Reviews) wrote: "This book was amazing!"

Yes, it is!!! There should be more books like this one!


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