Author: Julie Halpern
Publisher: Feiwell & Friends, June 2011
Hardcover, 224 pages
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 was excited to read this book after hearing such great things from other reviewers. Safe to say, I wasn't disappointed! Julie Halpern's writing is so personable and engaging that I had a hard time putting the book down. What a great summer read! Definitely a book to take to the beach or read on a lazy day. I identified with Lil's character in that she has a friend, Josh, whom she is totally smitten by -- but he doesn't feel like it's a good idea to take their relationship "there". Who hasn't been in that situation, especially in their teen years? The relationship between Lil and Josh was very natural, and I kept reading to see what happened in their journey to find missing friend Penny. The ending was satisfying and this line summed up the book: "Life is a big, long journey, with a whole bunch of bumps and twists, and freaky roadside attractions, that no matter what lead us somewhere." Funny, tender, with unexpected twists, Don't Stop Now is a light-hearted story that reminds readers that it's not the destination that is worth it, but the journey.