Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Title/Author: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Publisher/Date: Random House – March 2012
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
How I Received This: The publisher was kind enough to send me this!
Find Wanderlove on Amazon or Goodreads

What it about in a sentence or two:  Bria decides to use the summer before college to trot the globe (err Central America) to reclaim who she is and have the adventure of a lifetime to help assuage the pain of her recent breakup. When her fellow globetrotters end up being middle aged, “by the guide book” type, she eagerly abandons her planned out trip for an invitation to backpack with two “real” global vagabonds who show her what self discovery on the road is really about.

Ever read a book summary and just get this overwhelming urge to keep screaming, “THIS BOOK IS SO ME!!” Yeah…pretty much that was my experience.

Before I go into my review you have to understand thing one thing about me. If I could, I would be a nomadic wanderer traveling the world for the rest of my life. I mean, read my About Me. If there’s one thing I love more than books, it’s travel. Soul shaking, life changing travel. And it always is. As I seemed to have put it way back when I made my About Me, ” I have this insatiable desire to be everywhere I’m NOT.”  So you can imagine why I went batshit crazy about a book that asks, “Do you want to be a global vagabond?” Um why YES..yes I do.

Truly, Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year or so! It’s got a little bit of everything — adventure, romance, friendship, self discovery, lush descriptions, & it even has DRAWINGS in it!! Like the realization of a good trip coming to a close, I started to panic when I realized I was nearing the end of this book…grasping for pages that weren’t there. I just wasn’t ready for it to end.

The story is so well written and flows so well at a perfect pace- much like the ebb and flow of a good trip. Hubbard’s descriptions of settings and “on the road” encounters are authentic & vivid; paying tribute to her exceptional travel writing abilities that abound with transportable qualities that make you feel every chicken truck ride or picturesque sunset. As beautiful as her travel writing is, I cannot speak enough about the way these characters are written and the very raw and believable growth we witness. I don’t know WHICH adventure was more satisfying to be honest.

Bria, Rowan, Starling and the characters along the way were so lively and memorable. Bria is someone who is so easy to relate to. She wants to be uninhibited, fight for the person she WANTS to be and just living in this shadow of herself that was partly created by her douche of an ex….but she’s got so much she’s holding on to. Watching her grow and start to rediscover herself was an exciting journey in itself. Rowan…oh Rowan. I wouldn’t mind being his travel partner as it seems we share similar travel philosophies….minus the fact that sometimes he seems a bit pretentious about travel. Travel is such a personal thing and when you are serious about it..I guess it’s easy to sometimes come off like that and wanting everyone to experience the way you do.

Can we just talk about the tension between Bria and Rowan? OH MY GOSH. I could feel my whole body clenching when I would hold my breath during their encounters. I just wanted to pluck them out of the book and smash their faces together causing them to smooch like I used to do with Barbie and Ken. YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT!

My Final Thought: Read this. If you love a realistic YA read that is a fun, light not lacking in substance, romantical tension that is done right and a romp across some of the most amazing places in the world…then you might want to bump this one up now! I’ll be singing the praises of this book for a long time to come. It’s more on the romance/self discovery side as I felt some of the travel aspects did start to fade into the background but, if you don’t go into this expecting something resembling a travelogue, you’ll be fine!

Review On A Post-It:

Books You Might Also Like: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson…and if it’s travelogues you seek..I can recommend a few!

Have any of you read this book?? Any other books you’d recommend to attempt to satiate that travel bug?

five-stars

Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream

Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream is set up by chapters which count down the last 30 days of Clementine’s life as she plans and prepares for her suicide. Each chapter chronicles her day as she goes about her business to prepare and plan for her impending departure – things as mundane as cleaning out her refrigerator to finding a new owner for her rambunctious cat and making contact with her estranged father. Along the way there is drama, unearthing of secrets and quite a few things that could derail her plan. Mostly it’s hilarious, despite you’d think the tone would be with a book about suicide, but it’s also a little heartbreaking when you learn more about Clementine’s life. You just want to save her.

It’s a strange experience reading this book. As you are reading you become, like her, more and more at peace with her decision so to speak. I wouldn’t say I was rooting her on in her suicide but you find yourself almost accepting of it in the strangest way and you keep reading on swiftly to see if she actually goes through with it. I have to applaud the author for writing in such a way that you take on that resignation and feeling of peace that Clementine has in her decision.

Clementine herself was such a strange and interesting character! She’s snarky, a free spirited artist, quite ballsy & altogether just memorable. I felt as though some of her reckless actions and interesting decision making really mirrored her commitment to going through with her suicide. Why care about what you eat when you aren’t going to be alive in a few weeks? One night stands…not a problem when you don’t have to worry about the repercussions.

There were a few things that prevented this book from being stellar or awesome. Sometimes some of the descriptions of the mundane things…were just TOO mundane and I’d find myself skipping over a half of page to get to a part where she’s being hilarious in her observations or something. My other problem came with the ending. I’m not going to say much but it was not really satisfying to me. I can’t explain it without giving things away…but I just felt very underwhelmed.

Final Thought: Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream was a good read! It wasn’t a favorite by any means but it was refreshing and I’m glad I received a copy of it from the publisher. It was such an interesting read being inside the head of a character who has made peace with herself and her decision to commit suicide. It’s comical read, despite the subject matter, and I found myself giggling quite a lot. I couldn’t put it down until I found out whether or not she went through with it! Recommended for lovers of contemporary women’s fiction who want something refreshing and unique!

Review On A Post-It:

Find it on Goodreads or Amazon
three-half-stars

Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Wow! I just really love John Green. I read and reviewed Paper Towns a few weeks ago and I just didn’t think anything could top my love for that book…but this one did! I wholeheartedly, from the bottom of my soul, loved this book. I wanted to hug it, implant it in my brain for forever, prance around in sunflower fields with it, etc. etc. But seriously, this is one of those books that I can feel in my soul and so many things about it resonate with my own teenage experience and my life 7-8 years out from my teenage life.

Looking For Alaska was so hard to put down, not only because of the characters and the humor, but because of the unique structure. Each start to a chapter or a section is a timeline counting down to some unknown event that we are just waiting to happen. You know it has to be earth-shattering or something and that anticipation doesn’t wear at all as we get to know the characters and the setting of their boarding school. The “after” just rendered me a lifeless little rag doll.

I really enjoyed the characters in this one– such a fun group of friends that seemed real — they didn’t always treat each other right but they had each other’s back. They all had their flaws – real flaws..not things that just are made to seem like some flaws but then are all cleared up by the end of the novel. While I think Alaska could be really selfish and impulsive, I really understood her quite a bit. I identified so much with her on so many levels (although I’m not at all that quirky and eclectic) and found myself a deeper connection with this character that I typically come across in YA. I feel as though if you ask some of my high school and college boyfriends, they’d find some similarities in Alaska and I. It’s funny how I connected so much more with her than with the Pudge. I did like him though.

My only gripe? Sometimes I felt like the dialogue was a little too contrived. I didn’t really know anyone who talked like that in high school. I think we all wanted to believe we sounded that mature and poignant but we never did. I mean, I had some pretty “deep” conversations but in my dreams could I spout witty, intelligent things all the time. I think it’s like the same way that I always wanted to emulate the witty banter of Gilmore Girls. I totally imagine that I sound that way. But nonetheless, I loved this book but I just thought that should be noted because it crossed my mind a few times. That aside, I really appreciate that John Green knows and appreciates the fact that teens DO think about the bigger pictures and really do want to seek understanding. Teens can HANDLE the stuff he presents and he treats them as competent individuals who can handle the message and the deeper thought in his books.

My final thought: It’s hard to really put all the raw feelings and emotions that this book unearthed from within me. I know that sounds dramatic but it was one of THOSE kind of experiences for me. John Green does it again with memorable characters whom I swear have a real & audible heartbeat, the kind of thought-provoking life questions that keep me up at night and the kind of humor that makes me giggle. Oh and did I mention that I cried a lot at different points but especially when I realized what the answer was to their little “investigation” before they did. I understood that all too well.

Warnings: It IS a more mature YA read — drugs, sex talk, cursing. Just so you know. If that sort of stuff bothers you or if you are of a very young age, you might want to skip this one for now.

Review On A Post-It
five-stars

Top Ten Contemporary Young Adult Books – Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at my other blog — The Broke and the Bookish!

Today is FREEBIE week for Top Ten Tuesday — you can post a top ten bookish list about anything you wish! I decided to list my favorite contemporary YA reads. Sorry for all my readers of adult fiction! I’ve just been reading some really good contemporary YA lately!

1. Lola and the Boy Next Door – Um my review for this is almost embarrassing as I reread it. I never really write “OMG fangirly gushfest” reviews because I’m just NOT good at it. But for Stephanie Perkins…it happened. Lola is honestly incredible — one of the best contemps ever. Real issues that felt authentic of the teen experience..not something overly contrived. Great parents involved (she has two dads!) and she and Cricket are amazing characters!

2. Anna and the French Kiss — Ok, folks. It’s like this….Stephanie Perkins seriously is my go-to for contemporary YA fiction so I had to put her on here twice because both of her books were 5 star reads for me! Anna and the French Kiss had the perfect amount of drama and the allure of Paris was undeniable. Oh, and St. Clair…begin swooning NOW!

3. If I Stay/Where She Went — I have to put these two together because they were both incredible and I just see them as a whole story. If I Stay made me honestly sob buckets as it handles a tragedy in the life of a young girl. Where She Went was an honest and raw portrayal of what happens after…for everyone.

4. Ten Things We Did And Probably Shouldn’t Have – OMG. I laughed so hard with this book. It was fun but also confronted some real issues but in a non-preachy way. Be on the lookout for a review!

5. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour – ROAD TRIP! This one combined my love for mixtapes, road trips and romance. It was truly EPIC.

6. Speak – This one is probably one of my favorite books ever. Such a difficult issue and Laurie Halse Anderson dealt with it so delicately but honestly! Very powerful. Definitely should be on the top of your list for contemps you should read!

7. Crank – Such a gritty contemporary YA about an addicted teen….written in verse! I still have yet to read the sequel but I plan to soon!

8. Thirteen Reasons Why – I’ve never felt such a myriad of emotions while reading a book. This book deals with suicide in a unique and interesting way through a series of tapes planned out to be sent after the suicide was planned. Honestly, it was a heartbreaking novel — you feel bad for the girl but also feel so angry for how she sent these tapes out.

9. Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager– This is one book that more people need to know about! It’s written by an Australian author (and SET in Austrailia) and it is wonderful! It was refreshing to read some older YA characters and I found it to easily fall among one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

10. The Perks of Being A Wallflower – All fans of YA contemporary fiction should read this book. One of the first YA books I ever read! 


Are there any YA contemps I MUST read? I really want to expand my list!

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