Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Series: Stand Alone
Published: March 13th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: Sent in exchange for honest review
Description: 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.
I Give This ...
It's funny how often a book can be on your radar before you truly pick it up and look at it. I've seen this one countless times, but I never read the description until it was included in an email offering the book for review. I thought, hey I like to travel, sounds like it might be a fun read. I'm so glad I agreed!
I think I loved this book as much as I did because I really identified with the main character, Bria. No, I didn't go off on my own in Central America, but something kind of similar (and under similar circumstances). The entire book made me relive the experience and reminded greatly of a friend I haven't seen in 10 years. She reminds me a lot of Starling in this book (in fact at the current moment, my friend is in the The Democratic Republic of the Conga).
I loved the way Bria behaved in this book. She may have been hurting over a guy, but took steps to get past that and move forward. Granted not everybody takes such drastic measures, but I admired the fact that she could do it. I also laughed that her tour group was so far from what she thought it was going to be. I enjoyed that she sucked it up and decided to go off the beaten path to really experience what Central America had to offer her. I found her journey to be exciting and made me miss the travel opportunities I may have missed in my youth (I don't see myself traveling like this as I grow older).
I found myself attached to Rowan as well. Rowan was hiding something, and I knew it was something big that probably got him into a lot of trouble. I liked that Bria was hesitant around him, but was really trying to push him as well. I wanted to know all about him just as much as Bria did (even if she wouldn't admit it to herself). I wasn't surprised at the details of what happened, but I was more than happy to take the journey to learn them.
And overall wonderful book. It was crafted beautifully and I loved the attention to detail. It made me want to go backpacking through Central America...off the beaten path of course!