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Willy is a seasoned hitchhiker who introduces Jay to the wonders of the open road in order to boost his self-confidence and rid him of his spoiled-Catholic-boy tendencies.
I enjoyed this. As you can imagine in a book about hitchhiking, it’s a bit of a picaresque novel with stories about the other hitchers and rides they catch. There were some interesting stories, some crazy stories, and some unexpected stories. Some of the people whom I stereotyped based on their descriptions had surprising insights or tragedies to share. Jay finally realizes that everyone he meets has something to teach him and he starts to actively think about it and seek out the lessons. I like it.
I did enjoy the second half a little more, when Chloe was introduced. She was a great character! Tough, vulnerable, funny, she just brightened up the book for me. And Nanook! If I had a dog, I would want her to be just like Nanook, one of the best dogs ever.
This really could just be read as a story of two young men hitchhiking around the country and the characters they meet, but there’s more to be learned than that. Jay identifies his weaknesses and learns to try to grow past them, recognize them when they show back up, and keep fighting those tendencies. Willy learns that you can’t just ignore your problems; you have to face them or they’ll lead to even bigger problems down the road. They both learn to appreciate good traveling companions while you have them, but gracefully let them go when it’s time to move on.
There were a couple of plot lines that were left unresolved, so I’m wondering if there will be a sequel. The book feels pretty complete on its own, but if there is a sequel, I will check it out and see how Jay, Willy, and company are doing.
I recommend this. I think it would be a good crossover novel for young adults too. Jay is in his twenties, but he’s really just coming of age. Just be warned that this will have you ready to hit the road!
Thanks to the author for providing me a copy for review.