Wanderlove – Kirsten Hubbard

Day 1: Arrival
Travel companions
Overpriced organic fruit & nut bar from airport terminal
Ergonomic travel pillow
Phone with astronomical roaming charges
Sketchbook (knockoff moleskine)
Assortment of pens and pencils
Left Behind
Old version of myself
Bria had had enough of being a good girl, her love of art stopped when it became a battle. Telling her parents she was fine with a State college instead of Art School gaged no reaction whatsoever and she knew she had to get away. So she booked herself onto a Global Vagabonds trek across Central America. The brochure had lots of 18-25 year old types laughing and having fun, the reality; it was much different. Surrounded by middle aged tourists Bria isn’t having fun. Until she meets Rowan, a gorgeous backpacker, and his crazy out-going sister Starling, and they convince her backpacking is the way forward. She wanted an exciting trip with lots of partying, drinking and meaningless sex. So she joins Rowan as he makes his way to Lobsterfest, the biggest party there is in the Caribbean. However Rowan is trying to be a good boy, he’s got a wicked past that Bria keeps catching snippets of and she’s finding it hard to be the wild eccentric girl she wanted to be.
Wanderlove has been splashed around the blogosphere for a while now with incredible reviews and people saying that others must read it. I requested it from netgalley a long time ago and have only just got round to reading it but I can honestly say I don’t know why I waited and now I realise I shouldn’t have done.
It’s a great contemporary coming of age read and I loved every second of it. You really get to know Bria as she experiences the life of a backpacker and gets away from her past. I loved how you found out little bits about her past as you were going through the story and you weren’t just hit with a boatload of information about it at the start. You follow Bria from the minute she gets onto the plane and I really liked how the structure of the story allows you to really follow her progress throughout the book. Bria travels across Central America and onto the Caribbean and because you see it all through her eyes and she’s travelling with Rowan it’s really interesting to read about things off the beaten track how she saw them for the first time. If this book made me want anything it was to go travelling!!
The characters were complex, and I really mean it. Rowan was the most complex and Starling was pretty heavy too, but they all had their own reasons for it and I loved that as you read the book you develop more and more perspectives of them. Rowan was an amazing character and I loved how strong he was trying to be, but he wasn’t. He was running away just like everyone else. Starling was really cool and if I could be anyone it would be her, but even she was without her problems. She cared too much about others but as you got to know her more and more you could see that this was kind of a coping mechanism. Bria’s parents and best friends sort of appeared throughout the book but never in person, just by Bria mentioning them and you got a good idea of what they were like. Her best friends were kind and wanted what was best for her but they were also kind of blind, I thought they should have been there for her more and not the best friends they should have been. Her parents really annoyed me but they made up for it eventually. Toby, Bria’s ex-boyfriend was also a character that turned up through Bria mentioning little bits about him. Toby was the reason behind a lot of the things Bria was running away from and I hated him. He was a self-centred prick and I can’t believe how much he hurt Bria. You can tell from the start that he is her reasoning for running but as you find out more he was awful.
Bria herself was amazing, even though she was running away she knew she couldn’t run forever and would have to face everything eventually. I hated her for giving up on things so easily but realised soon that the trip she was on probably was just what she needed to grow as a person and get her head together after being told what to do for months and months. I loved how deep her personality was, and how things like her fear of water shaped her but they only came about recently and she knew she needed to get around it.
Bria was a brilliant coming of age character. She was going through things so many 18 year old go through. It’s a bloody scary time and when you throw in other things that had been going on in her life, you can understand why she did what she did.  I think my favourite aspect of the book was the drawings and how they became more frequent towards the end of the book, that really showed something about Bria and I loved it.
My only problem with this book was that it went a little slow in places and there were too many characters mentioned by name all the time, I kept forgetting who people were and it dragged me out of the story a little bit. Other than that I think Wanderlove is a brilliant read for everyone, especially those around Brias age who are panicking about uni and life in general.
Wanderlove was published on March 13th by Delacorte Press in the US. It has not got a UK publisher yet. My copy was received through NetGalley, thank you to NetGalley and Delacorte for providing this for review. 


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