It’s time once again for Road Trip Wednesday, YA Highway‘s weekly traveling blog carnival. This week’s topic:
What was the best book you read in March?
For me, March was a great month for reading, as was February. The past couple of months I’ve had this wonderful streak of loving everything I read.
First up, Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard.
This is a sweet story about travel and finding yourself. I love a good contemporary YA romance, so I was pretty sure I would like this. What I wasn’t expecting was how much this would tug at my own globetrotting tendencies. It’s been a long time since I’ve traveled the way that Bria travels in the book. Ok, in fairness, I was never a serious backpacker, but I did some hostel-hopping in Europe back in the day. These days, I still travel, but it’s more like “hey, four day trip to Paris!” where we stay in a real hotel and stress about getting home (we only fly standby).* I would love to take off a few months and get lost in the jungle.
I definitely related to Bria, who stretches or manipulates the truth when speaking to the backpackers she meets. I was so intimidated by some of the travelers I met in hostels, especially the ubiquitous Australians eight months in to a year-long round-the-world trip. I was merely a study abroad student traveling on spring break – I don’t think I even needed to wash underwear in the sink more than once before returning home. I burned with jealousy of these kids who were traveling on a shoestring.
But Bria is also leaving behind a bad situation, and she uses this trip to reinvent herself. Actually, reinvent is what she thinks she’s doing, but I think she’s figuring out who she really was all along.
At any rate, this is a fantastic read guaranteed to stir wanderlust (or even wanderlove!) in anyone who reads it.
The other best book I read was Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.
I had put off reading Finnikin, even though I had loved all of Melina Marchetta’s contemporary YA books, because I’m not that into fantasy as a rule. But it was available at a great price on Kindle because of the release of the sequel, Froi of the Exiles, so I decided to give it a shot.
Like many of her novels, Finnikin of the Rock unfolds slowly (amirite, Jellicoe Road lovers???), so I was lost for a bit in the beginning. About halfway through, the book grabbed me, and by the end I was completely and totally hooked. Finnikin is a wonderful male protagonist, burning with a desire to help his exiled countrymen but just so consumed with crippling self-doubt and guilt. His feelings of unworthiness (to lead his country, to love the girl traveling with him) resonated deeply with me.
Marchetta has created a brutal world in this book, so expect both bad guys and good guys to die. What has happened to the displaced people of Finnikin’s kingdom of Lumatere is horrific**, and joining them on their journey to regain their country feels like a privilege. I got swept up in the prophesies and curses surrounding Lumatere and the mystery of how (and if) they would be fulfilled.
I’m not even going to get into the fantastic love story between Finnikin and Evanjalin, because honestly, you should just read this book. But believe me when I say she’s a kick ass female character, and I haven’t rooted so hard for two people to get together in a long time.
So yeah, after finishing Finnikin, I downloaded Froi immediately, even though it’s a bazillion pages long and I have so many things to read and maybe I should be reading something a little lighter after Finnikin. I don’t care. I’ve got to read this book.
What were the best books you read in March?
*I am in no way complaining about jetsetting on standby. It’s hella cool, and I’m lucky to be able to do that.
**Trigger warning, though, as there is discussion of rape and its consequences.