Don't Stop Now

Julie Halpern, Author
Julie Halpern. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-312-64346-1
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4299-6594-1
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-250-06450-9
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Halpern delivers a summer road-trip novel with dark undertones, suggestive of a John Hughes film in its humor, pathos, and keen eye for the teenage mindset. Lil, a recent high school graduate who breezed through her senior year, has just heard from her sort-of friend Penny, who has faked her own kidnapping. Pretending (to herself and others) that she doesn't know why Penny took off, Lil persuades her best friend Josh to drive to Portland, Ore., to find Penny. Armed with cheesy Wisconsin-themed T-shirts and a sense of adventure, Lil and Josh travel west, visiting strange roadside attractions and staying in even stranger hotels, while Lil wrestles with her longtime, unrequited love for Josh. There isn't much sense of mystery to the trip—painful passages from Penny's viewpoint make clear the reasons behind her departure, and they find her too easily—but Lil's strong narrative voice and banter-filled relationship with Josh are immediate draws. As she did in Get Well Soon and Into the Wild Nerd Yonder, Halpern demonstrates her skill in creating outsidery everyteens trying to make sense of their lives. Ages 13–up. (June)
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