But I know. That's a lame answer. So I'll do my best. Bear with me.
Also, scroll down below the review to enter to win a SIGNED Hardcover of WANDERLOVE.
WANDERLOVE by Kirsten Hubbard
Goodreads summary: 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.
Do you remember when you first fell in love with reading? The book that did that for you? And then how every time you went to the library or to the book store, you tried to find more books just like that, to reproduce that feeling you had while reading THE book?
WANDERLOVE was like that for me. It gave me that same little thrill, the one that makes you forget it's just a book and that the characters and the places, while they may be real somewhere, are not, in fact, real real. It's the kind of book that you dive into and can't quite put down even though the number of pages are quickly dwindling, meaning your story is going to come to an end soon so it's making you crazy. There's just something about Kirsten Hubbard's books--I don't know what it is exactly--but it's a certain kind of magic, I think, that makes you forget the rest of the world while you're reading. Her LIKE MANDARIN was like this, too, although in a very different way. WANDERLOVE is..I don't know, lighter, I think.
Romantic? Funny? Sweet?
Yes. All of these things. And yet WANDERLOVE doesn't feel like a rom com. While I cracked up at Bria and Rowan's brilliant banter and curled my toes and grinned like an idiot at the developing romance, there was a depth of emotion beneath it all that makes the story feel rather profound. Bria and Rowan are two lost souls, though they don't really think they are. It's not until they come together in the process of escaping their demons that they realize the past is not something that can be so easily shed simply by ignoring it--that they have to stop running from it in order to truly leave it behind and find themselves in the process.
Bria and Rowan are the type of characters that just jump off the page. Such distinct and vivid personalities, so easy to envision. Rowan is the kind of person that others gravitate to, confident in his own skin, content without outside validation; while Bria is the kind of person so many of us are, just waiting for the right moment and a degree of strength to discover the Rowan within ourselves. And yet as different as Bria and Rowan are, they play off of one another so beautifully--they just click, bonding over a similar (hilarious) sense of humor. I wish I could post a few lines from the ARC just so you could see for yourself.
And the setting...dang. Such lush, vivid imagery, it's like watching a movie unfold within the printed text of WANDERLOVE. Hubbard somehow seems to know exactly which details to insert that will have you feeling by the end of a chapter as if you have just visited a place. As if you have just touched, tasted, smelled, and soaked in the sights and sounds of Central America--and through Bria's eyes, it makes you feel as if you, too, have been transformed. After reading WANDERLOVE, I was ready to book tickets to Guatemala and Belize. Oddly enough, I even felt like I could go with nothing but a backpack and sandals and no itinerary.
Like I said, it makes you feel transformed.
WANDERLOVE is filled with hope and redemption and longing and heartbreak. But also with spirit and passion and beauty and joy. It is more than just a novel of unforgettable adventures. It is an unforgettable adventure in itself. WANDERLOVE is a book I know I will return to.
WANDERLOVE will be available March 13, 2012.
And because I loved WANDERLOVE so much, I'm offering you a chance to win a SIGNED Hardcover copy. Just click on the link below to enter!
CLICK HERE TO WIN SIGNED Hardcover of WANDERLOVE
This giveaway is international and ends Thursday, March 15, midnight EST. You must be 14 years old to enter. If you win, you will need to provide an address for shipment. Under 18's must have parent/guardian permission to enter.
THANKS FOR ENTERING!
THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED. WINNER POSTED BELOW.
Be sure to check out what the other Bookanistas are raving about today:
Christine Fonseca interviews PIECES OF US author Margie Gelbwasser
Carolina M Valdez adores WANDERLOVE - with giveaway
Megan Miranda celebrates SLIDE – with giveaway
Jen Hayley takes a shine to STARTERS
Stasia Ward Kehoe discovers THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND ME
Tracy Banghart gives a shout-out to SHUT OUT
Jessica Love wonders at WANDERLOVE
The winner of the signed Hardcover of WANDERLOVE by Kirsten Hubbard is:
Bookish in a Box
Congratulations on your win! Please email me an address to which I can send your awesome signed hardcover. Thanks so much to all who entered! I'll try to post a new giveaway soon.