December 21, 2011

Listen to Your Gypsy Heart • Wanderlove

Wanderlove book cover
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Source/Format: Netgalley || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

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.

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. 

One of the first ever things I heard about Wanderlove was that it was like a teen version of Eat, Pray, Love. Now, I absolutely adored Eat, Pray, Love, so it's an obvious deduction that I was incredibly eager to get my hands on this book. And to my absolute delight, I loved it!

Bria Sandoval is an interesting character, especially because she reminds me of myself in many ways. I could relate to her thirst for adventure, for something radically different and out of character. I completely understood her longing to return to her artistic habits, but feeling blocked or barred by her own fear, insecurity and misgivings. Plus, I thought it was really cool to watch as she sort of grew up during the course her adventures from an inexperienced, reluctant backpacker to someone who was travel-savvy, more sure of herself and eager to try things.

It is her art background and the back story that led up to the trip and to Bria's current frame of mind that fascinated me the most about her though. I really thought it gave us a bit of insight into the person she used to be, as well as allowing us better perspective on why Bria had decided to go to Central America in the first place. It gave a creative touch/twist to the tale and I really liked that.

Of course, apart from finding Bria relatable and interesting, I loved the fact that the book was all about traveling! I am afflicted with wanderlust - I absolutely adore going to new places and discovering new things for myself. Though Central America never crossed my mind (I'm more of a Europe and Asia kid), I now officially want to go after reading about the places in Wanderlove. Everything sounds so fascinating, rich with history and culture. And all the activities they were able to try out sound absolutely amazing!

During the course of Bria's journey, they end up veering off plan and into a completely different, unplanned scenario from time to time. And I loved that! It spoke to me of spontaneity, and I love being spontaneous when the occasion allows for it. Sometimes, the best moments are the ones that you DON'T plan - and this book definitely shows us that!

I will not be able to talk about Wanderlove without mentioning Starling and Rowan. Starling's fearless and generous personality is definitely something I can look up to. Rowan, on the other hand, has such a mysterious air for most of the novel. But when things finally fall into place and we learn the entire truth about him, well, it's easy to really love him!

Wanderlove was a lovely read, and one that I sincerely enjoyed. It's a great travel adventure, with a little bit of life, love and chasing your dreams and figuring out who you are all tossed in. (And, one more thing, I LOVED the illustrations in the book. They were so wonderfully done and added a perfect creative aspect to it!)


  1. Read it, read it, read it! It's definitely a fun one :)

  2. I hope you love it as much as I did! I thought it was pretty great! And really? I'll have to get in touch with her ;)

  3. This book definitely has the same spirit as Eat, Pray, Love, but is geared towards a younger generation, I'd say. It's really fun to read though!

  4. The sketches and illustrations are pretty cool! I wasn't expecting them, but I love that they were included.

  5. Magan @ Rather Be ReadingFebruary 6, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    I really want to read Wanderlove. It's been on my list since I read Kristen's debut novel. I love books with travel and I'm thrilled this one will journey to new places - I hope one day I'm actually able to go to all the places I read about! Great review, Alexa! I'm so excited to read this book!

  6. I'm really excited to read this one! The setting sounds amazing, and I'm eager to see the artwork that's included! Glad to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks for the review! :)
    Lauren @ 365 Days of Reading

  7. I can't wait to read this one. The cover is adorable and the story sounds awesome. I haven't read Eat, Pray, Love yet but I've always loved the idea of it and I'm looking forward to reading a similar kind of story for younger people. Yay!

  8. I'M really looking forward to this one as well and I'm in love with that cute cover! <3

    Xpresso Reads

  9. YAY! I got this on NetGalley too, but I'm waiting until after Christmas to read it. I'm so glad you loved it! I recently wrote to Kirsten, and she sent me bookmarks for this book! According to her Twitter account, she's also planning a huge WANDERLOVE promo for bloggers who are interested.

  10. This sounds really great. I've only read one road trip book too and it was Don't Stop Now. It'd be really cool to read a road trip book from another country. I'm adding this to my wishlist now =) Great review!

    Irene (Alaska Bear Hunts)


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