Thursday, March 15, 2012

Book Review: Though Shalt Not Road Trip, by Antony John

Thou Shalt Not Road Trip fulfilled my desire for stories about teens working their way through the many challenges that life can throw them. And, doing this while on a road trip just adds to the appeal.

As part of a youth group assignment at his church, Luke Dorsey begins to write modern day parables for the Sunday school classes. But once he begins, he doesn't stop--even when the writing turns from happy and funny to sad and depressing. His pastor passes the book along and it gets rearranged, and somewhat rewritten, before it is published. The book's popularity has taken off, and Luke is going on a book promotional tour with his older brother Matt acting as guardian and chauffeur.

It turns out, Matt his more in mind for this trip than signing books. He's invited his girlfriend, Alex, and her sister, Fran, to go along. Fran and Luke had a history as best friends until last year, when Fran flipped out, died her hair purple, got tattooed and pierced, and quit going to church. Luke had always had a crush on Fran, but not any more.

The strength of Thou Shalt Not Road Trip is the characters. Especially Luke and Fran. They have a long way to travel, both realistically and figuratively, before this novel ends. The journey is confusing, frustrating,  heartbreaking, funny, and fulfilling, and Antony John delivers each of these emotions beautifully.

We also get a bit of Route 66 history and attractions, since Matt is bound and determined to take some "detours," which keep Luke frustrated and tired. This, and the fact that he's trying to figure out what's going on with Fran and losing faith in anything his book says makes Luke's subsequent book appearances more and more challenging.

Bonus: Antony John is from St. Louis, and Luke is from St. Louis, so there are references to the town and the muddy Mississippi. My stompin' grounds....

Thou Shalt Not Road Trip is very easy, quick read. Each chapter begins with "verses" from Luke's book Hallelujah, which are indeed written like parables for the modern teen. There isn't a lot of action or suspense, but the character's relationships and trials keep the pace acceptable. I think teens that enjoy road trip books and stories about realistic teen relationships will enjoy Thou Shalt Not Road Trip.

Published by Dial, April 12, 2012
ARC obtained from Around the World ARC Tours, for review
329 pages (qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)

Rating: 3/5

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  1. Sounds like a great summer read. I still have to read "The Five Flavors of Dumb". Hopefully, I'll get to it this year.

  2. This book sounds really interesting. I like the idea of the retelling of parables. Also, I love character driven books. Great review Annette!


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