Are you a Global Vagabond?
No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian 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 across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.
But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.
Rating: 3 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Travel enthusiasts
High point: Learning about backpacking
Low point: All the safety issues!
Reader maturity: 15+
Wanderlove isn't good; it isn't bad; in fact, it isn't a novel I feel strongly about at all. There are some books that just aren't for me, and this is one of them. I'm not saying it's "not my cup of tea", but it just didn't speak to me. The writing was fine and the characters were fine and the plot was fine, but none of them moved me to excitement or anticipation.
Part of it is that I spent a great deal of time thinking about what a bad idea it was for Bria to go off with Rowan. She traveled alone, went off with strangers and didn't tell anyone back home where she was. Any one of those could be a recipe for disaster. The point of Wanderlove could be to just close your eyes and leap--and leaps of faith can be fantastic--but in this case, they could also have deadly consequences.
I'm giving Wanderlove a 3 out of 5 because I was interested in the glimpse into backpacker culture, Latin America, and Bria's journey to acceptance. But in the end, my personal preference is for characters who think before they jump.
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Genre: Teen Fiction - Contemporary
Book Source: Won from Carolina Valdez Miller