Sep 1, 2011

ARC Review: Julie Halpern - Don't Stop Now

Julie Halpern - Don't Stop Now

• Pub. Date: June 7, 2011
• Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
• Format: Hardcover 240pp
• Age Range: Young Adult

On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who figures it out. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny has mentioned an acquaintance. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship.

Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her cellphone and a hunch about where Penny is hiding. There’s something else she needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together?

I received this through the Around The World ARC tours, and here is my honest review:

For a simple summer YA read, this has a lot going on! I can't put my finger on the true main focus of this novel. First there is Lil's friend (Penny) running away/faking her own kidnapping. Then there is the silly solution to find Penny with her best friend Josh. And that's the third major happening: she wants to be more than his friend. All of these were in the forefront the entire time, and I really had difficulty figuring out which one was more important.

Besides all that, it really was a fun read. I laughed out loud a few times, developed deeper predictions than this book called for, and really enjoyed their road trip stops. A lot of this story is convenient, but that's okay. And Gavin isn't really fully explained, but I wanted to punch him in his head the whole time. Josh, too, in a way. I was slightly irritated with his lack of ambition and Lil's obsession with him even with knowing about his lack of responsibility.

What I liked:
  • The feel. This was a fun read. It's light and airy with a bit of drama. Okay, more than a bit, but it was summery teen drama.
  • The humor. While I did get sick of the word 'turd' I did laugh a whole lot. These two have a funny sense of humor, and I enjoyed it.
  • The road trip. I felt like I was on a road trip for a while! The descriptions feel very real. No A/C in the car, fun and different hotel rooms, all the special stops at cool museums and wacky tourist traps.. just fun!
What I didn't like:
  • What's the point? Like I mentioned before, I didn't know what the main focus was supposed to be. I can understand side stories and other issues going on, but each plot point felt just as important as the next.
  • Some characters. I also mentioned Gavin's asshattery. I also felt like Josh was a bit of a douche. He seems like he has no ambition besides this band that doesn't even exist yet. He's almost upset about his father wanting him to find a job. There is back-story to this, but still! Guh.
  • Parents. These kids' parents were so absent that it was almost convenient. Maybe it's the way I grew up, but I find this to be slightly unbelievable. Anyway, I digress.
Bottom line: This is a fun, summery YA read that will make you laugh and keep you reading.


3.5/5 book sharks


  1. You know, I've always had a problem with the lack of parents in certain YA books. Why is that really needed? Ah, oh well.

  2. 1. The cover of this book is so FUN.
    2. The parenting in YA books is my biggest pet peeve with that genre.

    Overall, it sounds like a fun read to grab when you've just read something heavy and need something light. It's great to have titles like that on our TBR lists. :)



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