Summer is for playing, swimming, grilling, hanging out with friends and, naturally, reading lots and lots of books. We’ve decided to spend the next 10 Thursdays highlighting a different book we think would make a perfect addition to your summer TBR pile. The main difference between our regular Editor’s Picks and Summer Lovin’ books is that our weekly Thursday selections all focus on this sizzling, transformative time of the year. Don’t worry, books of all seasons will continue to get lots of love the rest of the week, but Thursdays are the day we get ready for the weekend, so settle down for our first summer reading pick.
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Release date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte, 352 pages
Synopsis: 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
Why You Should Read It: I wish I had read this book in high school. It would have convinced me to get over my insecurities and learn the joys of traveling simply and often and possibly even alone. Perhaps I was too naive at that point in my life, but taking Bria’s journey with her in my teens would’ve been a blessing. Now in my mid-thirties I appreciate everything Hubbard has to say about taking risks, being open to adventure, and learning how to appreciate where you are when you travel, as opposed to staying solely in a resort where you’re pampered throughout an entire stay but don’t really get a feel for what a particular place — its culture, its people, is really like.
Why It’s Great for Summer: What better way to spend a few days of summer than to read about life-changing travel adventures? For readers like me who have wanderlust — a compelling desire to visit new places and experience new things — this book is a wonderful affirmation of how travel can help you discover so much about your place in the world.
Swoon Factor: Rowan is pretty awesome. Not only is he hot (in a rugged hipster kind of way), he’s a reformed bad boy who’s really sensitive and kind and shows Bria the beauty of her surroundings. It’s obvious to the reader (naturally) that he’s into Bria, but she’s a bit clueless about how he feels — thinking he’s only being protective because he promised his sister he would take care of their newbie-traveler pal. Hubbard really plays up the romantic tension, so by the time the inevitable kiss finally happens, even slightly more jaded readers will wanna shout: “Finally!”
Even when life turns out different than what you’ve planned, it’s always better to try and fail than to wonder what could have been.
If we’ve got the means to get here, we owe it to the country we’re visiting not to treat it like an amusement park, sanitized for our comfort. It’s insulting to the people who live here. People just trying to have the best lives they can, with the hands they’ve been dealt.
You got to find your own places. The places you get, girl, the ones that stick in your heart. And if you’re lucky, you find people to share them with