Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Imprint of Random House)
Publication Date: 13th March, 2012
Nearly all of this review was written in September, but ALL of my thoughts are the same. I apologise in advance for my crazy fangirlyness.
About one thing I am absolutely positive.
I am in unconditionally and irrevocably love with Kirsten Hubbard and THIS BOOK.
It's Tuesday 13th September, Roald Dahl day, and I've just finished Wanderlove. At just five pages left until the end, I nearly had a heart attack because it COULDN'T BE OVER YET I WASN'T DONE LOVING IT, but the feeling I had when I turned over the final page (well, pressed the 'next' button on my Kindle O.O) was something else entirely.
I haven't stayed up late reading for a while, mostly because I've just come back from a two-month holiday abroad, but just before I went away, there was a string of books that I just didn't really care that much for. At least, not enough to stay awake half the night, not like Wanderlove.
I'm going to tell you the truth and say that I haven't read Hubbard's debut Like Mandarin yet. Even though I've been dying for a copy, and it just sits there, at the top of my wishlist. I can't make up excuses though. Even though I have a VERY VALID one. But DUDE I reaaalllly have to get a copy of that book SOMEHOW! *bribes you all with cupcakes. You know you want them*
Nearly all the things that happen to Bria are things I haven't even come CLOSE to doing like, ever, but it felt so real, like I could relate to all of the characters and go on every single journey with them, most because of the vibrant scenery descriptions. The cast of characters were amazing, especially Bria (her awareness throughout the book = awesome). I loved her and Starling and Rowan (<3<3) and basically just everyone and everything in this entire book.
I loved Bria's attitude towards Rowan's past. She respected his privacy, even though she found herself in many situations where she could learn more about the mysterious backpacker. And when they weren't on good terms and she'd lost all forms of trust in him, she still kept that frame of mind and I really respected her for that. Rowan's need to quote random books that he'd read was yet another thing I adored and ca't miss out of this review--it really made me smile.
And Bria's sketchbook is just a whole other story. The novel is sprinkled with the most fabulous sketches, all drawn by Kirsten Hubbard herself and it was possibly my favourite element to the story. I mean, I read this on my KINDLE and they were STILL GORGEOUS. There was so much depth, and it just added to the genuineness of it the book. There's so many YA novels out there where art plays a big role in a character's life, but where are the examples, huh? A book doesn't just HAVE to be a huge chunk of words put together, so why can't we have a taste of the awesome too? Being able to see Bria's art, and knowing how she feels about it throughout the course of the book (she is very protective over her sketchbook because of past experiences) was amazing and I felt so much closer to her by the end. The level of understanding in me just grew and grew.
For me, Wanderlove wasn't just about travelling. It was so much more than that. Overall, I have to say that Wanderlove totally exceeded any expectations I had, by a billion and one miles. It's so complexly-written, charming and wondrous. It's like Kirsten Hubbard just sat down and threw up lots of perfectness and then sprinkled it with all the goodness in the world. I just...really, really love this book. *sighs* Call me when you start to feel the wanderlust. And don't worry, you will.