Book Review: Looking for Jack Kerouac

Looking For Jack Kerouac  A Novel

Author: Barbara Shoup

Publisher: Lacewing Books

August 2014

First, what the media package says about Looking for Jack Kerouac: ( Read to the end for what I have to say)

“A relatable protagonist managing a delicate balance between uncomfortable realities and fertile possibilities makes for a memorable, mature coming-of-age story.” - Publishers Weekly Starred Review





A new young adult novel about self-discovery, “Looking for Jack Kerouac” releases August 12


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Author Barbara Shoup’s newest young adult novel, “Looking for Jack Kerouac” (August 12, Lacewing Books), whisked her away on a fascinating journey where legendscame to life more than 1,000 miles away from her hometown.


With the help of a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission, Shoup

embarked on a road trip that took her from central Indiana to St.

Petersburg, Fla., the same adventure taken by the characters in her latest

book. In “Looking for Jack Kerouac,” Paul Carpetti picks up a copy of

“On the Road” by legendary beat novelist Jack Kerouac during a class trip

in New York City. The book has a dramatic impact on Paul, changing his

whole outlook on life. But when he returns home from the city, his world

crumbles. It’s 1964, and Paul is dealing with the death of his mother. He

needs to get away.


Paul hops in a car with his friend, Duke, and doesn’t look back. The two

land in Florida where Paul finds Kerouac, who turns out to be nothing like

the author he idolized. But, in the end, the writer helps Paul in his journey

to self-discovery in an unexpected way.


“Looking for Jack Kerouac” is a coming-of-age tale with heart. Relying on notes she jotted down on

her way to Florida’s Gulf Coast, as well as extensive research on Kerouac’s life, Shoup writes with intensity, passion and poignant reflection.

Shoup is the author seven other novels, including a School Library Journal Best Adult Book for Young Adults, “Vermeer’s Daughter,” and two others – “Wish You Were Here” and “Stranded in Harmony” –selected as American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults.


She is the executive director of the Indiana Writers Center and the co-author of “Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process” (2000) and “Story Matters: Contemporary Short Story Writers Share the Creative Process (2006).

Now for MY REVIEW: It has been a long time since I have read a book that touched my heart and kept me engaged from the very first page. Looking for Jack Kerouac is one of those times and one of those books.

Barbara Shoup is one of those authors that knows exactly how to reach her audience with a story that tugs at the human heart with real experiences and real desires both joyous and sad. A coming of age story that rings true with the reader as we are carried down a road trip to find the piece of life we are missing. The real life details of the trip, the emotions the characters experience, and the journey to self discovery are moving.  In the end characters are changed but more importantly, the reader is changed. And that makes Looking for Jack Kerouac a great story. I think it will be award winning, read it and let me know what you think.


  1. Thanks so much for your review! I really, really appreciate it.

    1. My pleasure, a great book and I humbly apologize for the spelling error on mistaking the u in Kerouac for a v. I wish I could blame it on bifocals but alas, it was simply my error.


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