Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers/Random House Children’s Books
Published: March 2012
Ages: 12 and up
Rating: 4 of 5 stars = Excellent
The teenage years are typically difficult ones to navigate, so one would think that nearing the end of them—i.e. high school graduation—would be a time of excitement, celebration and, yes, relief.
Well, as they say, two out of three ain’t bad.
Graduation is an exciting time; definitely a time of celebration. But, relief? While one may find some initial relief looking back over their life thus far, they quickly realize that, in fact, they have reached another jumping-off point—a turning point in their lives. There are plans to be discussed, decisions to be made and directions to determine. High school was high school, one begins to realize; now, it’s time to decide the direction one’s life will go from here.
That is where Bria finds herself at the beginning of Kirsten Hubbard’s Wanderlove.
Nowadays, many people just assume that life after high school means college and, for some it does. But, not everyone falls readily into that college mold. And, some just need a little time to decide just where they fit. After all, when you’ve never experienced, well, anything, how are you supposed to know in what direction you want to send your life?
Bria was once a budding artist, but troubles at home and with her boyfriend took a toll on her focus, and now she doesn’t know where she is, much less where she wants to go. Maybe she wants to continue with her art, but she has to clear her head. And, when her friends back out on a planned trip, she is determined that she will take the trip on her own. Her once-boyfriend’s words make her even more empowered:
“You know you’re not going anywhere, Bria. You’re just not the traveling type.”
She was showing them.
Well, sure, she found herself stuck with a middle-aged traveling group, but she was in Guatemala, nevertheless; she was showing them; she did it.
And, yes, she finds that love can be amazing, faithful and empowering in the process.
When I was younger, one of my dreams was to hike the Appalachian Trail. I researched, I dreamed, I planned, but, in the end, I never did. Hubbard’s putting pen to paper and sending the confused-but-newly-determined Bria on a trip all alone to Guatemala was inspiring, if fictional. Her experience as a travel writer comes through, and the details of the book are obviously coming from someone who is writing from true knowledge, not from simply reading about someone else’s trips to the area. Wanderlove is encouraging for those who want to follow their unconventional dreams, but fear that they cannot do it or they will be laughed at if they try. It lets those who feel their lives have stalled after disappointment know that there is so much more out there to experience if they will just push forward and take a chance. Life is short; follow your heart; live your life; fulfill your dreams.
Readers can get a copy of Kirsten Hubbard’s Wanderlove at one of the 900+ bookstores in Georgia.