Thursday, March 29, 2012
Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
When Bria Sandoval sets off for Central America after her high school graduation, she only wants to escape her life: her emotionally manipulative boyfriend has just broken up with her, and she fears that she has lost her love of art forever. Along the way, she meets Rowan, an alluring, experienced backpacker with a past that he seems to want to move on from. Can these two young adults find what they need in the gorgeous landscape of Central America—and one another?
Drawing on her own experiences as a backpacker, Kirsten Hubbard pens a story that is not only rich in exotic descriptions but also in a pair of damaged yet wonderful lovers.
The main issue that I had with Hubbard’s first novel, Like Mandarin, was in my lack of connection with the underdeveloped characters. Fortunately, I didn’t have that problem with Bria or Rowan. Oh, I’ll be honest: they are two so very private, very introspective individuals that at the beginning I was worried it would be yet another story with pretty descriptions and bland characters. But even if I didn’t immediately love the characters, I certainly admired them: Bria may be in a rough place in her life, but she still maintains an irrepressible spark of wit and gumption in her narration, and Rowan’s aloofness hides a sweet and utterly real young man. Their attraction to one another (yeah, okay, we’re not going to lie and say we didn’t see it coming, so this is not a spoiler) develops gradually, which initially threw me off, because I’ve become (sadly) accustomed to insta-romances in YA, but which, by the end, I wholeheartedly appreciated.
WANDERLOVE’s setting in the culturally and environmentally colorful world of Central America certainly adds uniqueness to the story, but ultimately this is a romance—a sweet and subtle and absolutely wonderful one that I can think back on with a smile. For those who are constantly on the lookout for a good YA romance, WANDERLOVE should be on your radar.
Cover discussion: I've always rather liked Kirsten Hubbard's books' covers. They have this soothing and refreshing white-and-COLOR theme going on. Ahhhhhh....
Delacorte Books / March 13, 2012 / Hardcover / 352pp. / $17.99
e-review copy provided by NetGalley and publisher.