Release Date: March 13th, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
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 into 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.
Everything about this story makes me want to embrace life and have some adventure. All of the places that Bria and Rowan travel to are described with such beautiful detail that I imagined I was right there with them. The characters are nowhere near perfect and a lot of their past mistakes define who they are when we come into the story, even though they are trying their best to run away and pretend the past doesn't matter. The book takes place over just a few weeks, but the relationship that forms between Brian and Rowan doesn't seem forced or unrealistic. They start out completely unsure of eachother and it takes a lot of time and conversation for them to even start to begin to trust each other. I loved that we got to see some of the memories that shaped the Bria we meet in the beginning of the book. They are worked in so well and they
give us extra insight into her. We don't get to see into Rowan's mind like that, but we learn plenty about him through his interactions with Bria.
This book takes place in some beautiful settings and places of great history, but the story is truly about the characters and their journey. There is a lot of emotion wrapped up in this pages and Kirsten Hubbard wrote it beautifully. I felt for them and experienced the emotions they were going through at any given time. In the end Bria is just a girl who is trying to let go of the things holding her back and becoming the girl she always thought she would be. And Rowan is just a guy running from his past, because he's too afraid to stop long enough to deal with it. I loved these characters and I loved their stories. Definitely one to read and re-read.