Thou Shalt Not Road Trip

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Overview

From the award-winning author of Five Flavors of Dumb comes a novel featuring one crazy road trip full of rejection, redemption, and romance. Perfect for fans of John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines, or Sara Zarr’s Once Was Lost.
 
Sixteen-year-old Luke’s self-help book Hallelujah has become a national bestseller and his publisher is sending him on a cross-country book tour along the historic Route 66. Unfortunately for Luke, his ...

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Thou Shalt Not Road Trip

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Overview

From the award-winning author of Five Flavors of Dumb comes a novel featuring one crazy road trip full of rejection, redemption, and romance. Perfect for fans of John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines, or Sara Zarr’s Once Was Lost.
 
Sixteen-year-old Luke’s self-help book Hallelujah has become a national bestseller and his publisher is sending him on a cross-country book tour along the historic Route 66. Unfortunately for Luke, his irresponsible older brother Matt is coming along as chauffeur. When Matt offers to drive Luke’s ex-crush, Fran, across the country too, things really get crazy. In this journey of self-discovery, Luke has to loosen up and discover what it truly means to have faith to win the girl he loves.

"A highly readable balance of humor, heart, self-discovery, and shenanigans."—BCCB
 
"Christian values are conveyed with humor, devoid of potentially preachy pitfalls."—School Library Journal
 
"Features multifaceted teens whose faith is integrated with their thinking but doesn't define them completely . . . [A]n upbeat read with a unique premise, great settings, and just a little more."—Booklist

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
John (Five Flavors of Dumb) returns with the disappointing story of 16-year-old Luke, the bestselling author of Hallelujah, a book about his faith inspired by his love of (and heartache over) his longtime friend Fran, who has morphed from an overachieving churchgoer to a goth with purple hair and tattoos. The story opens as Luke is about to embark on a road trip–style book tour with his college-age brother, Matt, but Matt has a surprise: Fran and her sister Alex (Matt’s girlfriend) will be joining them. As the group drives from Los Angeles to St. Louis, Luke learns how he hurt Fran and discovers a deeper understanding of faith (and himself). John’s novel lacks tension, and the characters are difficult to make sense of; Luke comes across as incredibly naïve, blind both to Matt’s attempts to use the trip for his own purposes as well as external sabotage aimed at tarnishing Luke’s reputation. The premise is fun, yet difficult to take seriously, notably the lack of adult supervision on the tour, especially as events spiral out of Luke’s control. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ted Malawer, Upstart Crow Literary. (Apr.)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A highly readable balance of humor, heart, self-discovery, and shenanigans."
Booklist
"Features multifaceted teens whose faith is integrated with their thinking but doesn't define them completely . . . [A]n upbeat read with a unique premise, great settings, and just a little more."
Children's Literature - Naomi Milliner
Sixteen-year-old Luke Dorsey has written a spiritual self-help guide of modern-day parables, which (pun intended) has miraculously become a national bestseller. While it proves to be inspirational for both kids and adults, the legions of fans mistake the metaphorical journey of his young soul for a real one. As the story opens, Luke flies cross-country to plug his book at various Christian bookstores. The week-long trip quickly spirals out of control as Luke is joined by three traveling companions: his irreverent (and irresponsible) older brother, Matt; Matt's girlfriend, Alex; and Alex's sister, Fran—formerly Luke's best friend, as well as the unacknowledged love of his life (until she inexplicably dyed her hair purple and went punk). As Luke and friends travel from town to town, he inspires fans but comes to question his own words and beliefs until his crisis of faith threatens not only the success of his tour, but his personal happiness. If you can get past the unlikely premise, unrealistic dialogue, unlikable protagonist, and Fran's unmotivated 180-degree personality change, you're still left with one burning question: will today's readers identify with (let alone care about) a 16-year-old bestselling author who knows the New Testament inside out, but is completely clueless about everything, and everyone, else? Believing this novel will be a popular read requires a real leap of faith. Reviewer: Naomi Milliner
VOYA - Anna Foote
Luke could have a better chaperone for his cross-country book tour. His caretaker/brother, Matt, seems more concerned with showing his girlfriend, Alex, the sights along Route 66 than he is with getting Luke to his book signings on time. Showing up late, dirty, and hungry to appearances is a no-no for any author, but ever since sixteen-year-old Luke wrote the Christian best-seller Hallelujah, people have expected him to be perfect. Luke could also have a less diverting motel roommate for the trip. Fran, Luke's long-time crush, is Alex's sister and along for the ride. Luke is torn by his feelings for Fran, who has fallen away from the church—should he try to save her or love her the way she is? Though John's book is entertaining and at times quite funny, the main character, Luke, frequently comes off as preachy, as when he thinks, "spreading God's word is the duty of every Christian, after all." This attitude will put off some teens reading this book. Those willing to stick it out, however, will be rewarded with humorous excerpts from Hallelujah, written in a biblical style and featuring such books as "Lessons," "Mishaps," and "Realizations." Reviewer: Anna Foote
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Last summer Pastor Andy asked the teens in his youth group to write modern-day parables for the Sunday school kids. In a fit of inspiration, hunched near the a/c vent in his room to escape the Missouri summer heat, Luke Dorsey wrote and wrote. With a bit of help from Pastor Andy, as well as Pastor Mike and a raft of editors, he has, much to his surprise, ended up with a best-selling, spiritual self-help book called Hallelujah. This summer Luke is flying to Los Angeles to meet his capricious older brother, Matt, who is chauffeuring him cross-country on a promotional book tour. It turns out, however, that Matt has invited his girlfriend, Alex, along, as well as her younger sister, Fran. This is the same Fran who used to be Luke's best friend, debate team partner, and the love of his life, until she changed last year. She dyed her hair purple and scarred her ears with multiple piercings and her body with angry-looking tattoos. The journey becomes one of mishaps, late arrivals to signings, lost and regained faith, and forgiveness and acceptance. Luke and Fran reconcile, with Luke realizing that he has been judging her based on superficial trappings rather than valuing what's on the inside. Christian values are conveyed with humor, devoid of potentially preachy pitfalls. Although at times the characters lack depth and the situations they find themselves in are far from believable, readers will undoubtedly enjoy journeying with Luke as he promotes Hallelujah at various Christian establishments across the country.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Luke Dorsey, the 16-year-old author of bestselling "spiritual chronicle" Hallelujah, goes on a calamitous road trip to promote his book. Luke's book tour takes him from Los Angeles to his hometown of St. Louis. Along for the ride are Luke's older brother Matt and, unexpectedly, Matt's girlfriend Alex and her younger sister Fran, Luke's former best friend. Tension between Luke and Matt and between Luke and Fran is apparent from the beginning, but the back story is filled in slowly enough that some of the significance of what happens between the characters will be lost on readers. On the road, the two sets of siblings experience breathtaking sights, automotive mishaps and dubious detours. As Luke learns the pitfalls of sudden celebrity, he is also forced to face the pain of having lost Fran's friendship when she started dyeing her hair and getting piercings and tattoos. Despite some engaging interpersonal drama, much of the premise here is hard to swallow: Why would a teenage author famous enough to make national news be sent on tour without parents or handlers? What is Luke's relationship to Christianity? How did Fran end up on this trip anyway? Readers who stick around for the back story will be rewarded; many, however, will lose faith. (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803734340
  • Publisher: Dial
  • Publication date: 4/12/2012
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,040,235
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Antony John won the Schneider Family Book Award for his novel Five Flavors of Dumb. As a choirboy in England, he got to hear a whole lot of confusing theological discussions. Throw in a spiritual connection with Route 66, and you get Thou Shalt Not Road Trip. He lives with his family in St. Louis, Missouri.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 14, 2012

    Entertaining and thought-provoking

    While I enjoyed this book, (I'm giving it four stars, after all)I can't say that I loved it. There was too much left out for it to completely work.
    Luke, the narrator, is a wonderfully fleshed out and flawed character. He is a teenage boy and isn't quite sure that he even believes what he wrote a year earlier, but he's off on a book tour anyway. He makes mistakes, some knowing they are mistakes and some inadvertent ones as well. Yet, he is trying to do what he thinks is right or perhaps it is more that he is trying to do what is expected of him.
    His brother, Matt, doesn't seem to have much going on except for being self-centered and something of a user. He takes over the book tour, hauling Luke, Alex, Matt's girlfriend and Fran, the girl Luke wanted as a girlfriend a year ago, to all kinds of places that aren't planned, causing chaos and generally being less than helpful. Unfortunately I didn't get much of his personality except his userness. There is maybe one or two scenes where Matt is finally honest and someone Luke can depend on, but by that time, everything else has fallen apart.
    Alex, Matt's girlfriend, seems nice. I didn't get much beyond that about her. She seems nice.
    Fran, oh Fran, what a drama queen and I didn't really like her much. I think for this story to actually work well, I'd have to really think Fran is wonderful. And I don't. I'm left thinking that she has made her own mess for no real reason.(view spoiler)[ The fact that she dyed her hair purple, got multiple piercings, upped her self-mutilation and is binge drinking because her parents were disappointed in her was idiotic. I was waiting for the big reveal of what exactly happened to her. It must have been terribly horrific to cause her to completely change. But nope. She made bunny ears behind her dad's head and the photo appeared in the newspaper. So, hair dye and piercings resulting in her parents not talking to her and ignoring her for a year. I was very let down by this reveal. (hide spoiler)]She caused her own problems and I know I'm supposed to think she's very deep, but she seems to me just a teenage drama queen, making her own misery while blaming it on everyone else, particularly Luke.
    Hallelujah is the book Luke has written. People believe the book is all true because Luke has stated it is all true. I think knowing exactly what was in the book would have been a big help to me. There are small texts at the beginning of each chapter, but it didn't really explain what the book actually is about. Was it a retelling of the Gospels using a teenage boy in place of Jesus? It is alluded to that people think Luke has done all these things that happen in his book, so I'd have liked to know exactly what those things were. Just some kind of synopsis would have helped or at least someone describing what's in it. All I know is that it's funny and sad and there are bits about spending time in a desert and swimming a river. For me, the book and people's connection to it, were the foundation of the story, it's why Luke is on the book tour, so I needed to understand the book a bit more.
    There is mention of the kind of parents Luke and Matt have as compared to Alex and Fran's parents, but neither set is described in enough detail for me to understand that. Luke's parents are nicer, I guess. It's said that Fran's parents house is spotless and they are strict. I needed to know more for me to connect Fran's antics.
    All told, I enjoyed this one a lot and the only reason

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