Eighteen-year-old Bria comes across a travel guide and wonders what it would be like to be a Global Vagabond and travel on a guided tour of a foreign place. She’d just broken up with her boyfriend and also with one of her real loves of her life, her art. What she finds though is that she’d signed up to be with a group of middle aged tourists who keep it ‘safe’ on their tour. This is something she doesn’t want. Then she meets Rowan, a reformed bad boy and his half-sister Starling, who are everything she wants to be: independent and not afraid to go outside their comfort zone. She joins up with them and finds a side to herself she never knew she had.
I totally loved the voice of this novel. Bria reminded me of myself when I was younger, afraid to venture outside of her comfort zone but longing to do so. When she does take that first scary step, we find a piece of her armor stripped away, revealing the hidden butterfly inside. Like a butterfly at times she soars with her new found freedom. We see the one side of Central America that isn’t shown in the glossy travel guides with the realistic hotels and companions. But we also see the more human side as well.
Rowan is also somewhat of a mystery at the beginning but little by little he starts to warm up to Bria. In fact he goes on his own journey. I loved his analogy of his father to the 1969 movie with Dennis Hopper. His father also chased after work and ran away from his one night stands. Rowan hated this and vowed he’d never be the same. But in fact he was like his father. His second travel rule stated: The best way to escape the past is to keep moving forward.
Lush writing with an amazing voice, I fell in love with this story. The dialogue is at times humorous but also heartfelt. The illustrations add to the charm of this book. Bria’s own hero’s journey goes through trials like when Starling ‘leaves’ her with Rowan in the middle of Central America to whether or not she should trust Rowan.
This novel is filled with awesomeness and with characters that breathe a breath of life into a contemporary novel that makes you want to go on your own journey.
2. I fell in love with this story
3. Great visuals, descriptions
4. Yummy main character Rowan