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.
Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.
Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Page Count: 338
Source: My copy.
The idea of backpacking has always excited me. I picked up this book because it was something different for an older audience and because I thought I would love it, and I’m so glad I did. Because I did love it.
Bria was a (mostly) easygoing character and it was easy to fall into a fictional friendship with her. Her unsure nature was charming to me and I fell in line with her flaws. I was never mad at her, even though the decisions she made were not always the right ones. This was mostly because, even if she did something stupid or something that annoyed me, she did it for the right reasons. She always had these intentions that were not only good but really, really pure and I just could not bring myself to fault her for any of it.
Rowan is someone who I could envision myself falling into conversation with easily, but only when he opens up. If he wants to shut you out, then shut out you will be. He is a different kind of character. Rowan is not swoon-worthy. He’s the opposite, in some cases. He’s a real person. This well traveled person. Truthfully, I fell in love with him. I thought he was perfect, in this very flawed kind of way.
The writing, the way in which this author chooses to tell this story, shines. She has a beautiful writing style that glows off the page so that every scene, every line of dialogue comes to life in this glamorous world that you never knew existed. Her descriptions capture the reader, and it’s impossible to look away. The art throughout the book was a nice touch, it paired with the elegance of the words. I think the e-book takes away from that a bit. I would probably buy the paperback just to have it in my collection.
I thought the delivery of this novel was flawless. I have no complaints. The characters never veer off their own course and follow the paths that the author lays out so beautifully for them. She gives you what you want, and that is Bria and Rowan. Nothing is ever forced; it just flows. You get to follow them on this intriguing journey and they are so intriguing themselves it’s a pleasure. I can’t really name a more engaging set of characters off the top of my head. I loved every minute of it.