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Wanderlove    by Kirsten Hubbard Amazon.com order for
Wanderlove
by Kirsten Hubbard
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Travel can be a magical, life-changing experience. Kirsten Hubbard certainly captures this in Wanderlove, the story about a girl who tries to run away from her problems only to find herself in the process.

Bria Sandoval thought she had her immediate future well planned out. Once she was out of high school forever, she and her boyfriend Toby would tour the world and then both attend Southern California Art Academy in the fall. That was the plan until Toby dumped her.

In an effort to show him up, Bria decides to still travel, signing up for the Global Vagabonds tour of Central America. Once her plane lands, she realizes that the middle-aged tour group is not what she expected, which is why when she gets the chance to join an experienced pair of backpacking siblings, she throws away all the money she spent on the trip and finds herself following Starling and Rowan to many destinations not on the typical tourist route. She ends up learning a lot along the way about herself, and about her traveling companions, too, awakening a sense of self she never could have found with Toby.

Wanderlove is a wonderful example of the maxim 'it's the journey, not the destination'. Bria's breakup with Toby is so typical of high school relationships that it never felt forced or sensational; Hubbard just presented a true situation that many find themselves in between high school and college. What Bria does about it, though, is anything but typical, and this is what makes her an amazing character. Bria does not have any exceptional qualities; she just decides to take a risky chance that really pays off in the end. And her journey is just as magical for her as it is for the reader.

Wanderlove is all about finding yourself, something to which any reader, young or old, can relate. Kirsten Hubbard creates an amazing journey for Bria, allowing readers to live vicariously through her.

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