Scroll down for today's Divergent trivia question!
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Just Finished Reading ... Wanderlove
Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Published on March 13, 2012
by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: borrowed from the library
My summary: Still reeling from heartbreak, new high school grad Bria impulsively books a trip to Guatemala. She's barely settled into her seat on the plane when she realizes she's made every rookie travel mistake in the book. She's overpacked, brought all the wrong things, trapped herself on a group bus tour that will keep her safe in a tourist bubble. So Bria takes a leap of faith and joins a duo of young backpackers on a spontaneous adventure. She'll learn a lot about the world, and maybe even more about herself.
My thoughts: While I enjoyed Kirsten Hubbard's Like Mandarin, I wasn't sure I wanted to try this book. Something about the whole "find your bliss through travel" thing didn't really grab me. Then I read some glowing reviews and decided to give it a go. I'm really glad I did!
I always admire an author with the guts to let her main character be unlikeable straight off the bat. Bria's a sad sack when she first appears on the page: gloomy about her break-up, sullen that her friends bailed on her planned European Grand Tour, cranky about the color of her jacket. She gets on the plane, lies to her seat mates about her travel plans, and gets totally busted. As the book progresses, more is revealed about how and why Bria developed this prickly exterior.
Wanderlove touches on -- while never belaboring -- themes of independence and self-confidence, the search for "authenticity" through travel, and finding a balance between spontaneity and responsibility. I love that Kirsten Hubbard doesn't stoop to oversimplification. She does a great job of showing how a bad relationship has completely eroded Bria's self-confidence. She reminds us that travel can be a life-altering experience. But Hubbard looks at the other side of the travel coin, too, suggesting that perma-vagabonds like Starling and Rowan might stay in constant motion because they're running away from something.
Okay, Rowan fans: brace yourselves. Sorry to say it, but as much as I found Rowan's reformed bad boy persona completely charming, my brain just kept going: rebound, rebound, rebound! Am I a complete cynic? Feel free to yell at me in the comments. I can take it ;)
I think Wanderlove will appeal to a broad range of YA readers: actual teens who long to break free from their helicopter parents, "new adults" chafing at their increased responsibilities, and regular adults like me. As I read, I was cringing inside as I imagined one of my kids alone in a strange country someday. At the same time, I was recalling fond memories of my first solo international trip.
Wanderlove is definitely the kind of literary journey you'll want to sign up for!
Have you read this? Planning to?