This month, the YA Book Club (brainchild of the wonderful Tracey) is discussing WANDERLOVE by Kirsten Hubbard. I´ll try not be too spoilery (yes, I´m making up words – I´m all for creativity!) for those of you who may not have read it.
WANDERLOVE: 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.
I immersed myself in the story quite fast, after a few pages I was already “in” and I really enjoyed reading Bria´s adventure. The swoony elements were…well…SWOONY 😀 and I could feel her emotions. Always a wonderful plus in my book!
I re-read the ending several times and there are certain passages which made me react this way:
I did try to look a tad more inspired when I nodded though (promise), especially at this excerpt (and what better way to have the author actually read it for us – thanks for the magic of the internet and youtube):
This excerpt resonated in me. I left France when I just turned 19. Left my country, my family for an entire year to live with an American family and to take care of children. I thought I could maybe “reinvent” myself. Nobody knew me there, I could be whoever I wanted to be. I ended up pretty much staying who I already was but I did grow up a lot during that year…
The main reason why I truly enjoyed this story (apart from the swoony bits) is the self-discovery part and for me it could have happened anywhere in the world. She could have been in a resort instead of backpacking and still go through the same emotions.
Having said that, I did really like how Kirsten enabled us to “see” the places Bria went to…I could visualize them and “feel” the water. I virtually traveled with all of them and for that I´m very grateful!
So tell me: what did you think of WANDERLOVE?
How important is the setting of a story for you in general?
10 thoughts on “YA Book Club: Loving WANDERLOVE…”
That was a thoughtful and very personal review. I enjoyed it, and WANDERLUST, though not normally something I would read, sounds like a very interesting book! Thanks!
Thanks J.C. 😀 it is quite a great book, you should get your fingers on it…
Setting is part of my worldbuilding. It anchors my characters to who they are, what they do.
This is on my TBR list, of course! Kirsten has an wonderful prose style, so I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the review, Elodie. 🙂
“The main reason why I truly enjoyed this story (apart from the swoony bits) is the self-discovery part and for me it could have happened anywhere in the world.” So true. The story of Bria’s self-discovery could’ve happened anywhere in the world, but the travel story was wonderful (and beautifully written) in its own right.
I loved the swoony bits as well. The progression of Bria’s relationship with Rowan felt so natural and genuine. And yes… I totally need a Central American vacation now that I’ve finished reading. 🙂
I love your take on this as someone who traveled pretty far as a teen. I’m with you: The self-discovery bits were great.
Great review! For me the self-discovery thread was really what stuck out. I never got the chance to drop everything and live abroad alone (even though I ached to at that age), but I think that no matter the setting, the growth that everyone goes through during those late teen years is so universal. Everyone wants to reinvent themselves, but the majority of us come out the other side the same person–just a happier, more confident version of that person.
I like the premise of the story – self-rediscovery. Like you, I left home at 19, went to a University in a different country and really came out of my shell. I didn’t have to be the shy wallflower I was in high school. Sometimes, it takes a new location to help you grow and mature and become the person you always felt you could be.
From what you’ve said, it sounds like the author spent some time with her settings in order for you to feel as though you were traveling with the characters. It makes me wonder whether she actually traveled to those places. I find it so much easier to lead my readers through my written worlds if I can describe places where I have gone to in person. In my fantasy/SF worlds, I must map them out on paper and use them as reference in order to guide my readers through my imaginary worlds. Some stories can be set in any place, but I feel the reader should still be able get a feel for the setting.
This was a wonderful review. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on ‘Wanderlust’. 🙂
I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time. The self discovery aspect appeals to me, and you make it sound really wonderful. Fun Mean Girls gif too 🙂