15 March 2012

(ARC) YA Book Review: Thou Shalt Not Road Trip by Antony John

Release Date: 12 April 2012
Publisher: Dial Books
Format: ARC
Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Goodreads description:
When sixteen-year-old Luke's book, Hallelujah, becomes a national best seller, his publisher sends him on a cross-country tour with his unpredictable older brother, Matt, as chauffeur. But when Matt offers to drive Luke's ex-crush, Fran, across the country too, things get a little crazy. Luke thinks he's enlightened, but he really needs to loosen up if he's going to discover what it truly means to have faith, and do what it takes to get the girl he loves.
My Thoughts...

After reading Antony John's Five Flavors of Dumb, I was beyond excited to get my hands on a copy of his next YA novel--Thou Shalt Not Road Trip.  As a fan of  novels about road trips (and let's be honest, a closet fan of standalone contemporaries),  I had high expectations for this novel.  While I wasn't disappointed, I wasn't quite as blown away with awesomeness as I expected to be (you have to understand how much I ADORED Five Flavors of Dumb).

When we first meet Luke, he's on his way to start his book tour with his brother behind the wheel and things don't exactly go right from the start.  His brother rents an outrageous vehicle, spends money on just about everything you could imagine, and makes Luke late to his very first signing.  That's not the end of their adventure--no, no, it's just the beginning.  The whirlwind trip of driving and Q & A's and signings and awkward moments with his former best friend are anything but ordinary.

Luke is one of those characters that I, unfortunately, didn't connect with right away.  I'm not sure what it was about his personality that failed to really capture my attention.  I think I felt like he was trying too hard to be this person that he's really...not (which, also, maybe that's the point, since this truly is a journey of self-discovery in the end).  Fran, however, caught my attention from the moment that I met her and I really wanted to get into her head and know what was going on in her life.  Luke had obviously turned his back on her, and I wanted to know what had really gone down.  Why had she changed?  What was Luke, in his teenage boy oblivion, missing out on?! She was this awesome mystery that I was dying to unravel.

The road trip aspect of the story worked perfectly.  Along the way, each character has a journey to take, even Matt and his girlfriend, Alex (also, Fran's older sister).  Luke has moments where you feel like he's almost there, but he's clearly not ready to get with the program.  When things really started to head downhill, I was a bit upset for him because as he tried to make things right and figure out what he was really doing, I felt like I finally started to connect with him.

Overally, Antony John's writing is really superb.  The snippets of Luke's book that he shares are humorous and convey a sense of this thing that Luke has supposedly written and who the person Luke is trying to continue to be.  There is a lot of redemption in this story and I greatly appreciated that it doesn't wrap up TOO neatly in a overly happy ending for everyone.  That made it a realistic look on life with its difficulties, hurdles, and messy endings.

1 comment:

Raimyrawr said...

heard such good things about this author! Five Flavors is on my TBR and I cant wait to start it! :D

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