Don’t Stop Now

Don’t Stop Now
by Julie Halpern
Published 2011 by Feiwel and Friends
224 pages. ARC.
Rating: 3/5

On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who figures it out. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny has mentioned an acquaintance. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship.

Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her cellphone and a hunch about where Penny is hiding. There’s something else she needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together?

I’m at a weird place on this one. There are things I loved and things I didn’t like so much. I loved Lily and Josh. They were great characters, but I wasn’t totally satisfied by where their story went. It just left to much open for me. I was expecting a feel-good story with a road trip, and it didn’t quite deliver.

Lily is a good character. She’s quirky and laid back. Or, at least, she acts laid back most of the time, when she’s really stressing about whether or not Josh was flirting with the cashier at the convenience store or if he thinks she’s pretty. She had the potential to be a really engaging character if it wasn’t for her obsession with what Josh is thinking. I understand how that can be when you’re young, but life doesn’t revolve around boys. The good thing is, she has plans and she worries about how Josh will fit into them rather than how she can mold them to fit Josh. That’s good. At least she has some priorities.

Josh is sweet most of the time. He can get a little cocky, and definitely self-righteous about his music. I can definitely relate to being the person who wants to drone on forever about stuff none of my friends care about (like books), so I tried to sympathize, but at some point you have to just take the hint and shut up about it. Or find a different outlet (like blogging). It was polite of Lily to let him talk about his musical interests, but I’d personally rather someone care and listen than let me talk while they’re off daydreaming. It feels too fake, and I’m not into fake.

Penny is screwed up. I’ll agree to that, but I think everyone was too hard on her. She was scared. Not everyone can be strong and assertive. There are people out there who are just a little weak and need help. Penny was one of those people, and I felt like everyone just whined at her about the trouble she was causing, which is selfish. Yes, she was being selfish, but it was a cry for help. I just think Lily could have been a little more understanding. I guess driving across the country to find her was a pretty big gesture, but se was so angry the whole time and it kind of ruined it.

It’s a cute book, but it didn’t deliver the way I wanted it to. I expected a little more from it. It happens. It’s still pretty good though, so if you’re in the mood for a road trip book this one is a good pick. The characters are quirky and the places they see are strange too.

Prude Filter: This book contains profanity and sexual references. I suggest 13 and up.

Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Author’s website: http://www.juliehalpern.com/
Purchase this book: Macmillon/Feiwel and Friends | Book Depository | IndieBound

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