Christina (Ensconced in Lit)'s Reviews > Thou Shalt Not Road Trip

Thou Shalt Not Road Trip by Antony John
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Apr 07, 12

Read on April 06, 2012

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?
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