Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And My Heart Wanders Away

By: Kirsten Hubbard
Reported by: Julianna Helms
Source: e-ARC from Netgalley and Random House (thanks!)
Release date: March 13th, 2012

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.

-Summary from Goodreads
Pre-order: Barnes & Noble||Mrs. Nelson's||Amazon||The Book Depository
There are two types of flutters in your chest. The first type is when you read something sensual, something evocative and you know you should stop reading it, but you can't help it, so something quick bursts out among the fragments of seconds as you devour every single letter of every single word, savoring the strange inappropriateness of the scene. The second type is full on cardiac arrest. Where every part of you is shaking, fluttering so badly you don't even realize you're doing it until all of a second, you stop, and your heart just drops like a pebble. When you are a butterfly slowly flying away, wings straining against the pounding wind, and you can no longer ignore the fact that this--this feeling of complete fulfillment, complete satisfaction--has almost never happened before, and you are so desperate to feel it again you can't help but try and capture the wordless depiction into actual words.

Wanderlove is both, but especially the latter. I gave it everything, and it hurt me too much, made me ache, and at the end, I cried tears of relentless joy. I was so happy--I can't remember the last time a book made me this happy. I need something strong to grip on to, so that I can take a deep breath and tell myself to calm the heck down, because this review is so, so hard to write, and I'm so, so tired of running away and not looking back.

I was worried about this book at first. The whole synopsis of traveling and backpacking? Eh. Not really what I'm looking for. But... it's Kirsten Hubbard, a small part of me had whispered, and so, even as I dug through the first few chapters where we didn't know Bria very well, when she was still a stranger, I gave it a try.

I should have known that it would enchant me to the end of the world and shatter me all at once.

This book is about so much more than just traveling. It's about love, about trust, about running away and not running away. About staying still and not staying still. About watching the world spin around like a merry-go-round ride while you're standing in the middle, and as it sweeps you away into a land of endless confusion, you learn to eventually grab on to a horse and climb on, fighting your way through the hurdles of life. But, at it's heart, it's also a beautiful love story. There is no such concept as insta-love here. It is a fascinating and eternal and aching journey of learning that, yes, it's alright to fall back into someone else's arms, even after everything you've lost. It's okay to be afraid. It's okay to be angry. But you have to learn to discover the when, so that when the time comes, you won't miss it.

Sometimes, Wanderlove is magical. Sometimes, Wanderlove is heartbreaking. Kirsten Hubbard's books are so good they kill me.

But always, always, Wanderlove will find the piece of your heart that wandered away, and return it to you, so that finally, you are whole and new.


  1. Reading this book right now and after readin this review I want to get back to it right now! Your review is so beautifully written that it makes me feel like I am going to enjoy Wanderlove all the more! Thanks for the amazing review!

  2. Oh, thank you Tristan! It humbles me that you think so! :) I'm so glad you loved Wanderlove, too.


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