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The Reluctant Hallelujah

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  330 ratings  ·  64 reviews
But there I go, getting ahead of myself. Skipping straight to the part where I was front-page news and they were calling me Dorothy, instead of starting at the beginning...

When Dodie's parents go missing just as final year exams are about to start, she convinces herself they're fine. But when the least likely boy in class holds the key – quite literally – to the huge secre
Paperback, 220 pages
Published February 22nd 2012 by Penguin Australia
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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Dec 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Reynje by: Shirley Marr
This review also appears at The Midnight Garden

2.5 stars

On the surface of things, The Reluctant Hallelujah contains all the necessary ingredients that go into cooking up a very cool book. A mystery, a road trip, Williams’ trademark wit, teenage highjinks and lots of love for my home city, Melbourne. And this is why it pains me to say that I found the end product of The Reluctant Hallelujah slightly undercooked, leaving me with the distinctly bitter aftertaste of disappointment.

Having already be
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: aussie-ya
Because writing a review of this boggles the mind I shall let the kitty say what needs to be said.

K thx bye
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If the plot’s journey doesn’t do it for you, then the characters most definitely will.


If you have read Beatle Meets Destiny you would know that Gab Williams knows how to find that perfect voice for her characters. In The Reluctant Hallelujah Dodie is given this distinct voice that changes over the course of the book, which becomes influenced by the decisions and actions she has to make and commit to while on this quest and road-trip. Of course you’re going to be frantic and stressed when you
Mar 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
If I were to rate this on writing skill alone, it would get 5 stars. This is obviously Williams' strength. Sadly, plotting isn't.

'The thing' in the basement wasn't so much too 'out there' for me - I love 'out there' and weird with a passion - as too easily recognised and unquestionably accepted by the characters. I'm sorry, but this was a huge red flag to me. The revelation flung me so far out of the story that I just couldn't get back in. If it was Williams' intention to shock, she's succeeded,
The Reluctant Hallelujah by Gabrielle Williams is set in Melbourne, then it travels through Victoria and NSW and arrives in Sydney.

Dorothy, or Dodie (Doe as in doe-a-deer-a-female-deer; Dee as in de-lighted to meet you), Farnshaw is about to complete her final year of high school. She and her younger sister, Coco, live at home with their parents. One afternoon Dodie returns home to find her parents aren't there. Neither of the girls panic, assuming their parents are still at work or out. Unfortu
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Reluctant Hallelujah is a lovely piece of writing by Gabrielle Williams. She effortlessly combines quirky yet grounded characters in situations that stretch the imagination yet feel very real. While this is a quest tale it also explores that interesting dynamic that can only exist between sisters, the notion of faith (in every version of the word) and being open to the world.

A motley crew of characters meet an unreal adventure with humour, awe and some action thrown into the mix. Full of hea
This has been sitting around for two weeks untouched and as such, is being moved into my 'did not finish' pile. I'm really not in the mood to waste energy on a book I'm more than likely to give a 2 star rating to. It just doesn't seem worthwhile to me when I have several other books I'm incredibly eager to read.

That being said, I loved Ms Williams' first book, Beatle Meets Destiny, and I will be sure to pick up and consider her future works.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
I have enjoyed other Gabrielle Williams books but found it hard to engage with plot here. Good character development near the end but too little, too late.
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When I heard the author had a new book coming out, and that it was a road trip and sounded like complete fun, I straightaway added it onto my to-read list. I can happily say that this book exceeded my expectations by far.

Intriguing and funny, The Reluctant Hallelujah, jumps straight into the story, not wasting a second! As the book progressed the author paced the book perfectly, making for a lively read, with not a dull moment in sight.

The characters in this story, each and every one on of them,
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australian, teenage
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alicia Papp
Oh dear - I really loved Beatle meets Destiny, but The Reluctant Hellelujah left me cold which is a shame, because I was really looking forward to reading this book. I found the main characters, especially Coco annoying (whee let's post details of our secret plan on Facebook, let's get drunk and spill the beans), the whole thing implausible, and as to the secret in the basement - really? That's what you came up with? I actually snorted in disbelief and that really skewed the rest of the story fo ...more
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cover-love
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-review
Review originally posted in:

LOVE. The flickering lights from the cross gives this bright effect to the dark background in the cover. Simple and awesome.


One Helluva Road Trip.

One day, Dodie went home and found that her parents have gone missing. Suddenly, Enron, a guy who she never spoke with before in school came to her and said that his mother left her instructions to deal with what's happening. So Enron, Dodie, and Coco (Dodie's little siste
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have been waiting SO long to read this. I've heard all sorts of really amazing things about it and couldn't wait to find out what was in the basement. Unfortunately for me, the big secret of what was in the basement was spoiled by someone opening their BIG mouth! It would've been awesome not knowing and finding out through reading the story. I would never have guessed what was down there. ::grumble grumble::

Anywho, What I want to talk about is the actual book now. It was such a strange, but s
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
WARNING: there is a spoiler in this review...

I was looking forward to this book, because I really loved Gabrielle Williams' first book Beatle Meets Destiny. I can happily say I loved this book as much as her first book, but it was not at all what I expected.

The blurb usually gives a good indication of what the book will be about. In this case, everything the blurb tells you is absolutely true. What it doesn't tell you is why they have to go to Sydney. If you don't want to know, stop reading no
Feb 27, 2012 marked it as to-read
"My latest book is ‘The Reluctant Hallelujah’, about a group of teenagers who have to drive – unlicensed – in a 1964 Ford Falcon up to Sydney, just before exams start, and deliver a very important ‘package’ that their parents (and grandparents before them) have been looking after for the past 28 years. My publisher thinks it will probably be quite controversial, and my publisher in America won’t have a bar of it because they think it’s way too crazy, so I’m kind of nervous about what kind of res

I loved reading this book!! I can't quite explain it but the story was so unbelievable but at the same time it was so real. The writing was excellent and I felt like I was sitting in the car going along on this weird road trip with the rest of the crew. Jones and Taxi were both fantastic, I loved them both and feel like I actually know them (and the probably remind me of boys I used to know). I don't want to give too much away but this was a great book... Great characters, a very interesting a
First thought after reading this - "I LOVE IT!!"

This book was not what I expected. Sure there's a huge secret and a roadtrip, but they pan out in the most twisted, impossibly imaginable plot and I. LOVE. IT. You are hooked to the story, the characters and even begin to "believe" yourself.

I love finding books like these. Such a small book with so much personality and possibilities. I could read it again and again, and plan to. If you are intere
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: coming-of-age, ya
The Reluctant Hallelujah is only the second book by this author, but like the first, is outstanding in its originality and ease. There are no false starts in reading this book. No pushing through the first chapter as the characters slowly sink their teeth into you. No, from the moment Dodie Farnshaw introduces herself, this book will have you in it’s clutches until it’s good and ready to let you go.
My full review here
Hannah Kerr
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was hilarious and almost too bizarre! I absolutely loved every bit of it and couldn't put it down.
It did make me sad but like the message in the book, it makes you laugh no matter what.
If I could give this 100 stars I would!
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Review posted at Amaterasu Reads

So I picked up my copy of this book and told myself "Oh, only 200 plus pages. This should be a fast read." so I started reading. The first few pages I've read made me giggle, until it became full on laughter and then the unexpected happened:

I cried.

It all sounds so simple, Dodie and her sister had to transport a body to another place. But the thing is, her parents are missing, she doesn't have a clue why they had a basement containing a cardboard coffin, and a
The Reluctant Hallelujah was one of those books that I’ve had a vague awareness of for a few years now. This awareness was pretty much in the sense of ‘I’m aware it exists but have no idea about the plot’, aside from vaguely knowing it had something to do with Jesus. But when I saw it sitting on the shelf at the library, I thought I’d give it a go.

The story starts during one of Dodie’s last days of school, when her parents go missing. Not thinking much of it at first, Dodie assumes that there’s
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
The Reluctant Hallelujah by Gabrielle Williams 19th September 2012 | By Jordi Kerr "This week’s Inky Award shortlist review is all about The Reluctant Hallelujah by Gabrielle Williams. As this title has already been reviewed here on Read Alert by CYL staffer Liz Kemp, today I’m going to give you something a little different… how to pitch The Reluctant Hallelujah to students:
The best way to pitch The Reluctant Hallelujah is to give away as little as possible. Character voices are optional. Dramat
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In anticipation of reading this novel, I read all of the reviews of it everywhere on the internet. (This is usually a poor decision. I wouldn't do this if I were you. Stop reading now. I'm kidding. Stay.) The reviews seem to come in two varieties: 1. "This book is brilliantly written but is way too ridiculous and absurd for me", and 2. "This book is brilliantly written and so ridiculous it's awesome." I am so definitely in the second camp. I may have mentioned that I love out-there ridiculousne ...more
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Books are stupid. They make me cry too much. They make me intensely sad. I didn't expect the reluctant hallelujah to end this way.
I thought it was going to be a fun ride and a road trip.

But NOOO turns out this book is on crack.

It's about a girl named dodie and her sister coco and they find a dude in their basement who ends up being Jesus lying in a tomb in cardboard and they have to carry him from Melbourne to Sydney.

Apparently ever since Jesus died and was laid in the tomb, people sneaked him
Feb 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: australian-lit, ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my top reads for 2013. I just loved this book. Gabrielle Willams has created the ultimate road trip novel here. I am not sure this can be topped!
Dodie Farnshaw and her younger sister Coco live an average life, in an average Melbourne suburb, with their average parents. Things change quickly when Mr and Mrs Farnshaw disappear without a trace. When Dodie is approached by Enron, a boy at school she barely knows, and he says her mum and dad were watching over something for the Church and that
Maree Kimberley
It seems quite a few people really enjoyed this book, which is great. But I found it a real struggle to read.

For me, there was an inauthenticity about the tone and voice right from the start. I didn't believe in the characters or in the story, and felt disconnected from them. It read like a "story by numbers" (10% kookiness; 15% cuteness; 10% hard life backstory etc etc).

Several times I considered not finishing it but although I persevered to the end the false/try-hard tone bothered me from st
Sep 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
All I can say is... weird. Starts out promising then quickly becomes unenjoyable. Will probably win lots of "awards" for being literary and wanky, but I am not sure if a normal person will like it. BAD. Also do NOT read if you are a Christian. The burning cross on the front is indicative of the "edgy" humour (read insults) you are going to encounter. It's a sad state of affairs when a book like this doesn't get contested, but then again, maybe it's because no one has read or even heard about thi ...more
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Gabrielle Williams has worked in recording studios, advertising and television. Her first novel for young adults, Beatle Meets Destiny, was shortlisted for two literary awards in 2010. Her new book, 'The Guy The Girl The Artist & His Ex' is currently rating on Goodreads @ 4.48 stars out of 5 (which she's thrilled about). If you're interested in great books (no crap), see Gab's blog called bookbook ...more

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“I wonder if I'm being disloyal, if being with Didier means I'm forgetting about Jones. But every time I go in a drain, or past a church, I think of him. Every time I see a can of Coke, I think of Jones. And don't even start me on how I feel when I see department-store Santas.

A girl doesn't forget a guy like Jones in a big hurry. Even ow, when none of us are front-page news any longer, he's always in my head.

My name is Dodie.
Doe - as in don't change a thing (well, a couple of things I'd change).
Dee - as in delighted to have known you, Sebastian Worthington Jones.
Dodie Farnshaw.”
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