When does a spiritual journey turn into a rockin' road trip? The moment Luke's book, Hallelujah, becomes a national best seller.
Luke's publisher sends him on a summer cross-country tour with his unpredictable older brother, Matt, as chauffeur. Without Luke's knowing, Matt offers to drive Luke's ex-crush, Fran, across the country too, and things get a little crazy. Luke thinks he's enlightened, but he actually needs to loosen up if he's going to discover what it truly means to have faith, and do what it takes to get the girl he loves.
Yikes. A lot of this book was an uncomfortable trip down memory lane, back to those years when I thought being a Christian meant standing apart from others and looking down at them. I even wrote stuff and pridefully imagined I would change the world if it ever got published. Thankfully for me, nothing ever was, and I got to grow up and learn about true faith and love without all the drama Luke goes through.
Luke is a wonderful protagonist, because he is equal parts endearing and frustrating. He's genuinely confused by life, and when anything outside his world view comes his way, he is completely unable to handle it. Thankfully he has Fran in his life, a girl who has been abandoned by her family and friends, but never gives up on following God and making a difference in the world. Even if most people are unwilling to be helped by someone with purple hair and tattoos.
I had no problem with Luke and Fran's struggling spiritual journey, but I was a little disappointed in the way Luke's Christian fans were portrayed. I'll even lay off the open hostility they show to Fran, because as much as it pains me, that is too often true. But the stupidity they have en masse, unable to tell that Luke's highly stylized and metaphorical book isn't 100% fact. Ugh. We Christians are not all stupid.
John juggles a lot of themes in his book, dealing with faith, family, and romance in some new and really awesome ways. I loved it.
Four out of five Route 66 road trips.
Release Date: May 2012
Reading Level: Grade 7+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: YPL JOH