Don’t Stop Now

6 Jun

Lil’s pre-college summer has barely begun when she receives a voicemail from her sort-of-friend, Penny, made up of three small words: “I did it”. And Lil is pretty sure that she, and she alone, knows what “it” is. Lil is convinced that Penny has faked her own kidnapping, and is fairly certain that she is the only one who knows. Soon, Penny’s parents, the police, and eventually the FBI are calling Lil looking for answers. To avoid the pressure of her insider knowledge (including a hunch about where Penny is hiding out), Lil and her best friend Josh hit the road, heading out West in search of Penny. Along the way they stop by quirky roadside destinations, listen to a whole lot of Elvis, and contemplate if and when to cross the line from friend to boyfriend/girlfriend.

Lil and Josh are really at the center of this story, even though their “quest” is to find Penny. If it were not for guest narrator appearances by Penny at the end of several chapters, I could have easily forgotten why they were headed to Portland. Penny’s time in the role of narrator helps the reader understand what Penny is running from and to see Lil and Josh from an outsider’s POV. Otherwise, the story is told from Lil’s perspective, allowing the reader to dive inside her mind as she reflects on her feelings for Josh, what exactly this trip means for them, and what the future holds. Lil definitely spends more time contemplating her relationship with Josh than she does worrying about her missing sort-of-friend. She has, after all, had a crush on Josh for years and with college life on the horizon, it likely feels a bit like a now-or-never time for their relationship. Because our protagonists are on the road, there are very few side characters sharing page-time with them. Thankfully, Julie Halpern has written fun, friendly, believable characters that one would consider spending several days in a car with (even with Elvis on loop). In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever read contemporary YA fiction where I related so much to the protagonist and found the object of her affection so crush-worthy.

There is much to love in Don’t Stop Now – the witty dialogue and friendly banter between Lil and Josh, vicarious cross-country sightseeing, and loads of fun media references. If you’re looking for a light summer road trip read – with a small dose of serious-time and a whole lot of heart – this book may be just what you’re looking for.

Em’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Author: Julie Halpern
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (June 7, 2011)

Note: ARC received from publisher for honest review.

4 Responses to “Don’t Stop Now”

  1. capillya 26. Jun, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    “In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever read contemporary YA fiction where I related so much to the protagonist and found the object of her affection so crush-worthy.”

    Uh oh. Them’s some serious words there, Em. I absolutely love this cover and I’m up for some witty banter, witty dialogue, and road-trippin!

    • Em 26. Jun, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

      Yup. Me and this protagonist = serioustown. the cover looks so good in person too – a bit of an optical illusion.

      • Em 26. Jun, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

        note: it’s weird how Josh is always taking his shirt off – that would be the aspect of his personality that I would use to try to convince myself that I wasn’t super into him.

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  1. BBAW: Book Bloggers I Love » Tell Great Stories - 13. Sep, 2011

    […] YA Lit’s reviews, I’ve read and loved The Marbury Lens and because of their review of Don’t Stop Now I’ve been stalking it on Amazon until it came out on Kindle. It’s out now and […]

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