Today’s Bookanista recommendation: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard


From GoodreadsIt all begins with a stupid question: 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. 

I’m a sucker for beautifully written contemporary YA, especially when the story is set somewhere warm and beachy, and ESPECIALLY when there’s a slow-burn (read: realistic) romance involved. In these ways, Wanderlove is a triple threat. Kirsten Hubbard’s sophomore novel is simply lovely. Fully realized, perfectly imperfect characters. A setting that will give you a severe case of wanderlust. A hot, angsty, incredibly literate boy with a dragon tattoo(!). Wanderlove immersed me in its story, in its world. It made me feel like I was on vacation, and because of that, it was utterly unputdownable.

Bria is an every-girl protagonist in the very best way. She reminds me of ME when I graduated from high school, and that put me immediately on her side. Bria spends much of Wanderlove second-guessing decisions, suffering from crippling self-awareness, and yearning to be something more, something different. With help from Rowan, Bria gradually becomes more comfortable in her skin (and in her past mistakes), and she grows into a remarkable person, one I want to know. Kirsten Hubbard illustrates (literally) Bria’s transformation by sprinkling gorgeous drawings throughout the text. They’re an added bonus to an already beautiful book that I highly anticipated as I read.

In case you missed it, I discussed Wanderlove‘s glorious setting for March’s YA Book Club post… You should totally check it out! And, when you’re done with that, please please PLEASE pick up a copy of Wanderlove. I suspect you’ll adore it as much as I do!

Check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to today:

Elana Johnson more than “likes” BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS

Nikki Katz is crazy about CREWEL

Stasia Ward Kehoe  adores BREAKING BEAUTIFUL

Tracy Banghart  takes a shine to A MILLION SUNS

Jessica Love is wowed by WELCOME CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE

Debra Driza marvels at MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH – with giveaway

Tell me: What’s your favorite travel-inspired novel?


18 thoughts on “W is for WANDERLOVE

  1. Temre Beltz (@TemreBeltz) says:

    Thank you so much for the recommendation, Katy! This book sounds amazing, and I will definitely move it up on my TBR list. I also love the cover. The girl on the front reminds me of Kiera Knightly who is one of my favorites (ahh, sigh, Pride and Prejudice!). Also – hope everything is going smoothly with your move to California!

    • katyupperman says:

      The cover model reminds me of Kiera Knightly too, and also of the book’s author, Kirsten Hubbard. It’s a fabulous story, so I hope you get to read it soon. Let me know what you think!

  2. Alison Miller says:

    I’ve heard so many awesome things about this one and can’t wait to read it! (I actually had a copy but gave it away before I had a chance to read it. Boo) Favorite travel book? I like time travel books. Do they count?

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, sure… Time travel books totally count. I make the rules around here, remember? 😉 And I can’t believe you let WANDERLOVE go before reading it, Alison! It’s gorgeous!

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, it’s fabulous, Jaime! The exotic locale and slow-burn romance gave me the same feeling I got while reading ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. I bet you’ll love it!

  3. Zanne says:

    I really want to read this! Planning on getting it from the library as soon as I get my library card.

    Favorite travel inspired novel…that is a good question! I love traveling, so of course I love books that involve travel. Some of my recent favorites were Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, Anna and the French Kiss and Girl at Sea. Oh & also North of Beautiful if that counts (there is a trip involved).

    Also, I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favorites, but I read Losing Gemma and it still haunts me to this day.

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, I think North of Beautiful is definitely a travel-inspired book. The MC’s journey and growth is very much dependent on her trip to China. And I haven’t heard of LOSING GEMMA, but any novel that’s described as “haunting” immediately intrigues me. I’ll be on the lookout for it!

  4. Rebecca B says:

    I loved the journey in WALK TWO MOONS, a MG fave from when I was a kid. I loved EAT PRAY LOVE, too! But WANDERLOVE has to be my favorite YA travel novel.

    • katyupperman says:

      For me, WANDERLOVE is one of those books that I would have appreciated just as much as a teenager as I do today, which isn’t always the case with YA, weirdly enough. Love it!

Comments are closed.