The Reluctant Hallelujah by Gabrielle Williams

Five teenagers. One dead guy. Helluva roadtrip.

When Dodie’s parents disappear two weeks before her final exams are about to start, everything begins to spin out of control in her life.

The kid dubbed least likely to succeed in her graduating class literally holds the strange iron key to a mysterious basement in her house that she never knew existed, and a note left by her parents instructs her to ditch school and roadtrip up to Sydney.

With nothing left to do but follow her parents’ wishes, Dodie and her sister are whisked away on an insane mission. Bad guys in black SUVs, hilarious conversations, astounding miracles and, best of all, romance feature in this Australian-set novel.

The Reluctant Hallelujah is surprising and hilarious. The storyline is so original and refreshing – you have to wonder how Gabrielle Williams came up with a plot like this. The relationship between Dodie and Jones is completely natural, not forced like it is with some novels, and their witty banter is funny enough to laugh out loud.

Despite the strong religious references, the reader comes away feeling like they haven’t been harassed and had religion thrust down their throats. You don’t feel compelled to suddenly become a believer. Dodie has a sharp mind and a sarcastic way of thinking that keeps the storyline fresh. Most definitely my favourite character.

A good read for guys and girls aged 12 and up.

Review by Miranda Stewart, age 15