Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Title: Wanderlove
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Published: March 13, 2012 by Delacourte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 352/Hardcover
Challenge: 2012 Sophomore Challenge, 2012 Completely Contemp Challenge, 2012 Standalone Challenge
Source: NetGalley

Summary: It all begins with a stupid question: 

Are you a Global Vagabond? 

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path. 

Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward. 

But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back. 

Review: I LOVE road trip books. This isn't a road trip book per se, but it involves lots of travel which I am always a fan of! Wanderlove was a fun book that had a wonderful mix of everything: romance, travel, teen angst, and so much more.

This is one of those books that can be classified as a girl finding herself and discovering how to move forward with life, but that just sounds too boring. It's not so simple as that. Bria does learn about herself and how to live life, but it's a gradual process. With each new place she visits she learns a little more about herself. The people she meets along the way also serve as her tools of learning.

The characters weren't that memorable for me. They weren't bad or flat, they just didn't leave a huge impression on me. They told the story beautifully and were perfect for it.

Wanderlove is a great book! It's fun and romantic, but also has a serious side about letting go of the bad and welcoming in the good. It's definitely a book to read!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal

Title: The Lifeguard
Author: Deborah Blumenthal
Published: March 1, 2012 by Whitman, Albert & Company
Pages: 268/Hardcover
Challenge: 2012 Sophomore Challenge, 2012 Standalone Challenge
Source: NetGalley

Summary: It's an unsettled summer for Sirena. Back in Texas, her family's splitting apart, but here in Rhode Island, at the cottage of her free-spirited aunt, it's a different world. There are long days at the beach and intriguing encounters with him. Pilot. He's the lifeguard with shamanic skills. He both saves her and makes her feel lost at sea. Sirena explores her obsession with Pilot and discovers his mysterious--almost magical--gifts.

Review: This book had a lot going for it, and although it was a fun, cute, and quick read, it had one too many plot threads to follow.

The Lifeguard had a good summer vibe going throughout the book, so it's a great start to the spring/summer time! It wasn't clear until a few chapters in that something supernatural was happening, and that's where a bunch of sub-plots developed and I lost track.

There were ghosts and supernatural healers and evil stingrays, and because this book was on the short side it didn't have enough time to develop and explain every sub-plot. There were brief explanation at the end when everything was tied up, but it makes me wonder if there's going to be a sequel.

The characters weren't all that interesting. I didn't make a connection with them and they seemed more like just names in the book than actual people or characters.

The Lifeguard is a quick summer read with a bit of a paranormal edge. It didn't have a lot of development, but it was still fun to read.


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