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The Girl in a Cafe

Loving Books Since Before It Was Cool! All reviews can also be found on my main blog!

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Wanderlove - Kirsten Hubbard “Wanderlust is like itchy feet. It’s when you can’t settle down. But Wanderlove is much deeper than that . . . it’s a compulsion. It’s the difference between lust and love.”There is absolutely nothing about this book that doesn’t scream amazing. Or adventure. Or wonderfulness. Or excitement - anything really! If you’ve never had any inkling to travel or to experience anything in life - even after reading/watching Eat, Pray, Love or any other countless ‘travel the world and discover your soul’ type reads or movies, than be prepared to find your credit card maxed out on a ticket to Central America.Bria Sandoval has just finished school, and at 18 doesn’t know where to turn text. Her boyfriend’s dumped her, and her best friends have pulled out of their Europe plans at the last minute. They all don’t think she has the guts to travel, and her parents aren’t much help either - even the Ice Age was warmer than what Bria feels at home.Then one day a flier catches her eye ¬- Are you a Global Vagabond? That’s all that Bria needs to see - as well as the iconic photo of Mayan ruins - to find herself booked on the trip of a lifetime, gallivanting around forgotten cities and having adventures that the people she’s left behind can only dream of.Now - slight interruption in the story telling here - if you are like me, and you’ve been bitten by the wanderlust bug (although now I’m positive I’ve got wonderlove, more on that later!), then you’ll be familiar with the travel brochure. An assortment of pages stapled together with bright colours, mouth watering photographs and young(ish) people who look like they are having a damn good time. You’ve got your Contiki, Tucan Travel, Topdeck Travel, Go! Adventures, Travel Talk, Radical Travel…the list just goes on and on and on. And all these companies just look so fantastic that you want to end up completely broke after two months of bussing it around Europe, because hey, you’ve seen the Eiffel Tower.So anyway, Bria embarks on this trip around Central America, only to find herself on a tour for Grey Nomads who would rather read a book than marvel at the scenery. Note: Grey Nomads is a term used for the oldies that have decided that they want to pack up all their worldly possessions into a small little campervan and/or explore the world. For an example, see my father. He’s off to Vietnam to teach at an orphanage for six months in June. We’re calling it his midlife crisis.We’re calling it his midlife crisis. Then she meets Rowan and his sister Starling, who are seasoned backpackers, and are living the life that Bria can only dream about. Ready to drop the image that’s been created for her back at home, Bria decides to split from the group and travel with Rowan and Starling.I think that this book appealed to me because in a sense, I am like Bria. Without the art. But that same need to prove yourself to your friends and family, to have a sense of independence and that rush of adrenalin. It’s all there. I see myself in Bria. I see Bria’s outcome and I want that, because I know that my own adventure isn’t quite over just yet. I always thought that I had wanderlust, that needy crave to travel, the itchy feet. As we call it in Australia, to go walkabout. To find my sense of purpose within the wonders of the world. Now I know my diagnosis. It's Wanderlove.You just devour this novel. Kirsten Hubbard, who has experienced all of what Bria is seeing, writes with such a passion that you actually feel like you are there, alongside Bria, Rowan, Starling and all the other wonderful characters that pop up. This woman knows her stuff, and she uses it to her advantage to create such a powerful novel that if you’re heart hasn’t exploded by the end of it, then clearly you aren’t human. Bria’s tale is one of coming of age, and coming to terms with who you are, not what other people think of you. And Bria really develops as a character in this book, and for most authors, that’s something hard to do, especially when you’ve only got 352 pages to do it all in. By the end of it, you really feel like you’ve seen somebody growing up, and Bria’s whole perspective on everything completely changes. She’s the exact same person, but having done what she’s done means that she’s a different person. If that makes sense at all!The story doesn’t revolve around the romance either. It’s a side note, but it’s a huge part of who Bria becomes. Rowan oozes confidence - he’s got the backpacking thing under his stride, like he was made for it. Bria finds this difficult to cope with at first, but then she starts to get to know him, and understands what life has been like for Rowan, and then well, let’s just say it culminates into a drunken night in the ocean and then on a jetty and man oh man it turns into the sexiest thing you’ve ever read! I love the way there’s a bit of development going on for Rowan as well, as he comes to terms with having Bria in his life. Bria respects Rowan - his past, his future, his present. She doesn’t press him - unless it’s bothering her, but then again Rowan would just turn around and say no anyway. There’s a lot of addressing the stereotypes here as well, which I also loved. Bria’s initial reaction to her tour group: the middle aged and old Americans who don’t really experience travel and only go to places just to say that they’ve been there. Trust me, I’ve been there. I work in a hotel, I see it every summer. One of the main stereotypes that Bria addresses is the wealthy backpacker. That people who have money are the only ones that travel, and slumming it in hostels etc is like exacting some sort of revenge on the parents and family who have given you such wealth. That is definitely one that I know ALL about. I could keep on rambling about this book for ever and ever, just as much as I could read it over and over. I was absolutely astounded when it came through to me from Delacorte via NetGalley, and I am forever grateful. This book is hands down the best thing I’ve ever read, and is way up on my list of Favourite Books of Like, Forever. If there’s one thing you read this year, make it this book. Read it, devour it. And I’ll see you in Guatemala, yeah?