Don’t Stop Now by Julie Halpern

Don’t Stop NowDon't Stop Now book cover by Julie Halpern

Just out of school for the summer, the last thing that Lillian expects is to have a cryptic message from her friend Penny waiting for her on her phone. “I did it,” is all that the message says.  It turns out that Penny has faked her own kidnapping.  The only thing Lillian can think to do is hop in the car with her best friend Josh (who she also has had a huge crush on forever) and try and track down Penny on a road trip across the country.  Complete with random stops at places like the Mars Cheese Palace, the Mitchell Corn Palace, and the Enchanted World Doll museum, Lily hopes this road trip will finally determine once and for all if she and Josh can be more than just friends.

Halpern does a great job of presenting serious issues with a humorous twist; this novel is laugh out loud funny.  One interesting aspect of Don’t Stop Now is that Penny has a very hard home life and is in an abusive relationship, issues that prompt her to stage her kidnapping.  You get Penny’s point of view in alternating diary entries that balance the lighter road trip narration provided by Lillian.  The road trip, some drama, and a maybe romance all combine to make this a great summer read!