Monday, 6 October 2014

BOOK REVIEW: WANDERLOVE BY KIRSTEN HUBBARD



It 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.

Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story



may contain spoilers



I'm terribly disappointed. I feel like, lately, everything I'm reading is letting me down. I really need to tone down my expectations. All over GoodReads, it's just 4/5 star reviews and it being a book about travelling - yes. This is for me.

I was wrong.

I'll start from the beginning of me reading this book, it was great. Wonderful. I won't fault the author at all on her writing skills, she's got a fantastic way of writing. I can 100% tell that she's been travelling herself, and after researching, I found out that she has. As a traveler myself, I was so into this book at the start, the way she wrote the atmosphere, everything Bria was seeing, feeling, smelling - amazing. I love the explanations on how Bria felt during those moments of pure wanderlust, because it really is an incredible feeling and I got that from reading this book. It's making me want to go to Central America too! (Although it's on my list anyway!)

A lot of things in this book, especially at the start, I could relate to. The stuffy bus journeys, the hostels, the other backpackers, the food, just every issue that a backpacker has - I've been there, and she got it down to a tee. It's not easy and not everyone can get used to it, and I'm quite surprised Bria lasted as as long as she did!

And that's where we move onto the characters. Sadly, that's why I couldn't finish this book, nearing the middle of the book, I realised I was skimming. It was just conversation after conversation about random crap that I didn't care about. Rowan trying to be all meaningful and Bria just thinking about her ex-boyfriend and how hot Rowan is.

Bria. Bria. I'm just annoyed that the whole reason she even went travelling was because she wanted to prove to her ex-boyfriend that she can do it. That's not a reason to go travelling, and it's quite pathetic really. Life doesn't revolve around boys all the time, love. And when she's not thinking about proving her ex wrong, she's making the most of this incredibly beautiful place, on her own, to discover and learn how to take care of herself- oh wait. No, she decides to stop following her ex around and start following Rowan. You're your own person, Bria, don't go where he's going all the time! Atleast meet up with him a few times but every single minute? Travelling is about freedom and doing what you wanna do, see what you wanna see, meet new people and not the same guy over and over. I mean, even he's getting funny about her meeting certain people now. If she wants to talk to those backpackers, Rowan, she bloody well will! 

Speaking of Rowan, I didn't warm up to him. Maybe it's because he took me as the typical pretentious backpacker, I don't know. He just lounges around, judging Bria, reading classic novels and making her decisions for her, telling her she's a shit traveler. If I were there, I'd tell him to bloody do one. Although her reasoning for her trip is crap, she's still got to have room to grow, telling her she's just a wimp isn't very encouraging. 

Plus I don't like guys with long hair.

Sterling I had no problem with at all, I liked her, but she left to go somewhere else mid-way through the book. Great. At least she gets about! Oh, and the other backpackers just merged into one, how can I care about them if I barely cared about the main characters.

This isn't like me but the romance ruined it for me. If she'd just met this guy who was so carefree and more carpe diem about everything, encouraging her and asking her where she wants to go, then I might not of minded. Someone who'll bring her out her shell and get her to enjoy the trip more (not that she wasn't enjoying it but she wasn't making the most of it, in my opinion)
Because this is a DNF for me, I skipped to the end and I only missed some love crap that just filled the rest of the book. Him getting jealous at a party (at the same place they've been for ages. Move on to somewhere else!!) and them kissing then him getting in a mood, leaving her on her own (finally) and then reuniting. Urgh, it's the same old crap. Why can't they stop being drama queen's and actually see where they are. They're surrounded by beauty, take it in, and stop letting high school crap get in the way. Who cares. 

It just took away from the real reason I wanted to read this book so it just wasn't for me. I don't even think there was much chemistry between them anyway. If I'm going to be honest, I think they just wanted a quick fumble.

I actually enjoyed it when she was with the tour group more, the other characters were hilarious and quirky, I can actually remember them all. If she stayed with them, I probably would of enjoyed it more.

I'm going to wrap this up by saying that, if it weren't for the main characters not being likable enough for me, I would of enjoyed this book more. I loved Hubbard's writing, especially when she's writing about a place, the pacing was a bit slow too and the characters didn't see enough places. I'm not saying the book is crap, it's not, it's just not what I wanted so I thought I'd stop. I have a few other books I've been wanting to read so I thought I'd give up on something I'm not enjoying and read those instead.

Sorry!



GoodReads: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

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