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.
This book was made for me. I’ve been dying to read it for quite some time because travel is very close to my heart, and while I’ve never backpacked, I’ve always wanted to. Desperately, really. So, I cracked this open with high hopes. And oh my goodness, did it grab ahold of my heart.
I love Bria. She is fantastic. She is the perfect mixture of hope and insecurity and strength. And the intensity of her character arc is magnified because, really, that’s what travel does to you. It shows you the world in new ways, changes you, forces you to grow. It is life-changing. Bria overcomes so much and enhances who she is over the course of this three-week trip, and I felt as if I were right there with her. All of this told against the backdrop of beautifully-described Central America. A place that was honestly not on my radar before, but now I must see. Must. The writing is so strong that every single location Bria visited was incredibly vivid in my mind. I really felt like I was there, and I fell in love with a place I’ve never been. That’s a magical reading experience.
Bottom line: this is a beautiful book. It has affected me to the point that I was madly researching European backpacking destinations last night. For hours. It’s like I’ve been bit by the travel bug all over again, and for that alone, this is a novel I’ll be reading again and again.
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