Saturday, March 3, 2012

Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Title: Wanderlove 
Author: Kirsten Hubbard 
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 338
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from February 29 - March 2, 2012
My rating: 3 stars: I like it
Summary: "Are you a Global Vagabond?" No, but 18-year-old Bria wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a tour of Central America--the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. So when Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspoken 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 through Mayan villages and remote Belizean islands, they discover they're both seeking to leave behind the old versions of themselves. The secret to escaping the past, Rowan's found, is to keep moving forward. But Bria realizes she can't run forever. At some point, you have to look back.

Honestly, I wasn't very impressed with this book. I didn't like it as much as I first expected.

Prior to the beginning of Wanderlove, Bria was with her boyfriend Toby. They're both artists, though Toby thinks he's better than her. They applied for an art school together and promised each other that they were going to this school together no matter what, but when the results came out, it turned out only Bria was accepted. Toby took it personally and said out loud for her to hear that he thought there must be some mistake, that their portfolios must have been swapped. Ouch. But that wasn't the first offensive remark Bria's heard from his mouth. There were lots of them, in fact, but she was just too in love to see them clearly. Eventually, Toby told her that he was going to another art school which Bria didn't apply for and broke up with her.

Bria was shattered. She believed completely that they were going to that art school together, so she didn't apply for anywhere else. Toby kept it a secret that he did. So art became something she avoided. She gave it up. To get away from art, Toby, and her dysfunctional parents, Bria sets off on a journey to Central America with Global Vagaband tour group... Only the tour group isn't exactly what she had in mind. When she meets a backpacker boy Rowan (whose religion is Wanderlove) in a market who invites her to dinner where he's staying, she's immediately fascinated by the bohemian backpacker looks and decides to go. There she meets his sister Starling (who sat beside her in the plane). Knowing Bria is disappointed with the tour group she comes with, Starling asks Bria to ditch the tour group and join her and Rowan on a backpacking tour of their own!

I find the story of Wanderlove enjoyable but not exactly interesting. I can say that wanderlust is something that flows in my veins, so I highly expected myself to love this book. I always want to go away and explore places, but I have specific places in mind. And Central America isn't one of them. I guess the reason I don't find this book interesting is because it's set in Central America. I don't really care about it, so any descriptions about spectacular places there don't really help.

I'm trying really hard to recall what the climax of this book is... I can't think of anything. Yeah, I feel like this book has no climax. It just goes on and on from this place to another. There was no tension anywhere.

Also, I don't think Bria is a very likable character. I think she's sometimes too whiny and annoying. I don't like the way she gave up something she loved just because a boy happened to make it a bad memory for her. It makes me feel like she didn't really love art herself, but did because of Toby. It was kind of unbelievable to me how she avoided art because of him in the first place. I didn't buy it. It sounded over dramatic and not really realistic to me. On a positive note, I kind of respected her for trying to get away and travel on her own. That's a brave act. I don't think I will ever have to guts to do it on my own.

However, I do like Starling. I think she's the best character in this book. She's cheerful and impulsive. She outshines every other character. I'm okay with Rowan. I don't feel like the author gives much opportunity for us to get to know him. So I can't really say I like him. In the end, Rowan decides to give up his Wanderlove and go back home with Bria, and says he'll open a dive school there. I don't buy it AT ALL. It seems too forced a happy ending to me. I didn't feel like Rowan is that much in love with Bria to give it up. No likey.

The author's writing is good. I don't find it particularly amazing or anything. I, however, really like her drawings, which are inserted here and there in the book. They really add up to the story. Kirsten Hubbard is a travel writer. I really like it that she wrote a book about things she knows about.

Now that I've finished this review, I think I like it even less. Sigh. Sorry. I wish I'd loved it, I really do. It just wasn't for me.

Wanderlove comes out on March 13, 2012.


This review is also posted on Goodreads.

I received the ARC version of this book from NetGalley and Random House Children's Books.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, that ending would drive me nuts. Surely that's a dodgy message to be giving to teenage girls that might read it, 'hey, don't worry, everything will work out fine with a bow around it?'. Eeesh.


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