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
About 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Because I loved his first book, Five Flavors of Dumb, I asked the author for an ARC of his new book, Thou Shalt Not Road Trip, and he graciously complied.This book is about a boy named Luke who writes a best-seller Hallelujah at Bible camp, and because of his growing fame, goes on book tour. He's piloted by his older brother Matt, who just happens to bring his girlfriend, Alex, and her sister, Fran. Luke has a complicated history with Fran, and this trip just magnifies how far they've grown apart. I'll admit I had a love and hate relationship with this book. Antony John's strength lies in developing characters who are real and very flawed. Because of this, they are allowed to grow and change throughout the book. To me, Luke is not a very likeable guy. He's holier-than-thou, whiny, and almost embarrassingly naive. But when I dug into my own soul, I have known teenagers like him. And part of the reason I felt such a strong dislike for him is because I used to be him, once. So I should allow him grow as I have grown. While Luke was not likeable at the beginning, at the end, I could see glimpses of the adult that he might be. There were other wonderful aspects of this book. Fran was a beautiful character who we learn to love more and more as the story progresses. Another character that I was completely surprised by was Colin, his agent. To me, his conversation near the end with Luke was probably one of the most true and poignant passages in the whole book. I did have one significant issue with this book. To me, the passages of Luke's book were not that compelling. I couldn't fathom how it became a bestseller. Part of the problem is that the rest of the book is so well written. I feel that dichotomy worked against the story.Antony John takes a huge risk with this book, which I appreciate. I'm sure he will turn some people off with his host of characters-- a Bible toting teenager who is hailed as the next Messiah may not be everyone's cup of tea. But while I was not as captivated with Road Trip as I was his wonderful Dumb, Road Trip is well worth reading and I encourage everyone to look past its exterior-- after all, isn't that the ultimate message of this story?
Thou Shalt Not Road Trip is humorous, just like Luke¿s Hallelujah, but it¿s also incredibly poignant. Antony John addresses so many issues that teens face within the pages, all wrapped in a totally realatable story. John makes the reader think¿about what they¿d do in Luke¿s situation, and about their own beliefs. I love when books have the power to inspire self-examination! And through it all, John keeps the story light for the most part: there¿s drama, but there¿s always laughter and hope at the end of it.One aspect of Thou Shalt Not Road Trip that is humorous in its own way is its power to make you frustrated. Some of the things Matt does are just so ridiculous that you can¿t help wanting to give Luke a good shake¿why does he put up with Matt¿s crap!? (Taking a four-hour hike before a signing? No way, Jose.) I just couldn¿t get behind Matt, even though he¿s ultimately portrayed as one of the good guys. Luke, on the other hand, was a much more likable guy. You get inside Luke¿s head, and he¿s this incredibly naïve, holier-than-thou kind of kid¿but somehow you grow to like him and even root for him! The growth he goes through is incredible, and Antony John does it in such a great way: slowly and subtly.Thou Shalt Not Road Trip revolves a little bit around Christianity, which might make some readers wary. Fear not: the subject is handled in a great way: it doesn¿t make non-Christians uncomfortable, and it doesn¿t offend Christians. Antony John does toe the line, which I personally think is great¿he gets the readers to explore their faith, as well as the faith of others.Thou Shalt Not Roadtrip is a great choice for any fan of contemporary YA fiction. It¿s a quick read, but it is by no means trivial. Antony John isn¿t afraid to ask questions or make you question yourself. The road trip is only one of the great aspects of this book.
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