Monday, March 19, 2012


Author Kirsten Hubbard and I could have some conversations. From reading Wanderlove, I can tell that she has traveled widely and on a budget. In my eight years of living abroad, I did my share of backpacking and also led semester-long experiential education trips abroad. We may have even crossed paths in Central America.

Wanderlove's main character, Bria, decides to go on a group tour of Guatemala when her boyfriend breaks her heart and derails their plans to attend art school together. As soon as she meets her group, full of unadventurous adults, she realizes she has made a mistake. A chance encounter with Starling and Rowan, effortlessly cool backpackers, leads to her ditching the group and learning what travel is really about. Along the way, she experiences romance, adventure, and self-acceptance.

Hubbard nails the backpacking lifestyle, from typical hostel antics to the posturing of 'trustafarians'--kids using their trust funds to support their bohemian lifestyle. I loved the characterization of Bria, someone who is aware that the dreadlocks, toe rings, and flowy clothes are costumes, but is still desperate to give them a try. Her excitement and self-consciousness make me remember why I loved leading students on trips; everything is thrilling and every day holds myriad possibilities.

The novel held some surprises for me:  plot twists that I didn't see coming and predictions that fell flat. Between this and Like Mandarin, I am officially a massive Kirsten Hubbard fan. Since the book is written as artistic Bria's travel diary, it is full of sketches that Hubbard drew. Where was I the day they were handing out talent? Get this book and be inspired to strap on a backpack and hit the road.


  1. I was excited to see what you thought of the book, since I always enjoy reading others' thoughts on books that I have read. It was fun to revisit the book through your eyes.

    I still haven't read Like Mandarin but I know that I will have to someday!

  2. Yay, yay, yay! I am SO HAPPY you wrote this review! The first review I ever read for Wanderlove was from a blogger I think writes great reviews, and it was really, really negative. I immediately dismissed the book, but all of the hype it has received since then has started making me question that snap judgement... Your review 100% convinced me that I need to give Wanderlove a shot. And this is the second post you've written that has made me say... you should write a book! Seriously, the little snatches that you share about your own life always make me think, "Hey, there's a story there." Just a thought :)

  3. It is definitely worth a read...I really loved it.
    Every once in a while I think I would like to write a book and then jot down about five sentences before I realize, "Oh yeah, I don't really like doing this!" Ah well!


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