There is not really a back story to why I chose this book other than I had read another book by Julie Halpern (The F*** It List) and I am a sucker for a good road trip story. Don’t Stop Now follows a fresh out of high school Lillian and her best friend that she happens to also be in love with, Josh. Lillian’s friend Penny had informed her that she had been planning to fake her own kidnapping before they graduated. Now at the beginning of summer Lillian gets phone call from Penny with only the phrase “I did it.” leading Lillian to believe that she did fake her own kidnapping. Lillian and Josh then go on a road trip from Chicago to Portland in hopes of finding Penny. And maybe finding love along the way.
I am just going to say it, this book was a big let down for me. Like I said I am a sucker for a good road trip story and this book had all the makings for one but it just did not come together. However, there were a few things I liked so I will start with that before going into the negatives. I really liked the actual road trip aspect of everything. I loved the places they stopped at along the way. There was a cheese castle and a corn palace. There was a Fantasuite place that they spent the night in a moon-themed fantasy suite. Each new place they stopped was different and quirky and held true to a road trip theme.
I did not like the main characters and obviously if you don’t like the main characters it is hard to like the rest of the book. It felt like Halpern was trying too hard to make the characters seem funny and quirky and it ended up feeling forced. It felt like every conversation they had was an attempt to be this cleverly hilarious conversation but it usually fell flat. They didn’t feel like two kids who had just graduated high school. Their relationship with each other was also really frustrating. They rarely had serious conversations. There would be these moments in the books where they would try and have a serious conversation about the status of their relationship only to have one character crack a joke or something interrupting them. It was a shame too because when they would start these conversations I would start to like Lillian.
Another relationship I did not like was the relationship between Penny and Lillian. Through out the book you are shown that Penny is abused by her boyfriend and that is why she faked her own kidnapping. Lillian has her suspicions about this but instead of asking her if everything was okay or voicing her concerns to an adult she just ignores it and says she is tired of taking care of Penny. This made me really angry because it isn’t sending a good message to the readers. It really frustrated me that Lillian chose to ignore that issue. I think I would have liked her more if she had at least attempted to ask Penny about it or do something about it.
Another thing about Lillian I did not like was that although she claimed their road trip was to find Penny and get her to turn herself in she repeatedly talked about her relationship with Josh and how if it weren’t for Penny running away she wouldn’t be able to have Josh alone so much. But by the end of the book she was flirting with other guys right in front of Josh but then talking about being in love with him. She was hard to follow because it felt like one chapter she was feeling one thing and the next chapter she was completely different.
Honestly, I was disappointed with this book and I wouldn’t recommend it. It is a shame because I really liked her book The F*** It List. So I suggest reading that one if you want to read a book by her.