Luke Dorsey, the 16-year-old author of bestselling “spiritual chronicle” Hallelujah, goes on a calamitous road trip to promote his book.
Luke's book tour takes him from Los Angeles to his hometown of St. Louis. Along for the ride are Luke's older brother Matt and, unexpectedly, Matt's girlfriend Alex and her younger sister Fran, Luke's former best friend. Tension between Luke and Matt and between Luke and Fran is apparent from the beginning, but the back story is filled in slowly enough that some of the significance of what happens between the characters will be lost on readers. On the road, the two sets of siblings experience breathtaking sights, automotive mishaps and dubious detours. As Luke learns the pitfalls of sudden celebrity, he is also forced to face the pain of having lost Fran's friendship when she started dyeing her hair and getting piercings and tattoos. Despite some engaging interpersonal drama, much of the premise here is hard to swallow: Why would a teenage author famous enough to make national news be sent on tour without parents or handlers? What is Luke's relationship to Christianity? How did Fran end up on this trip anyway?
Readers who stick around for the back story will be rewarded; many, however, will lose faith. (Fiction. 12 & up)