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Road Tripped

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Steven Gerald Gabel—a.k.a. Stiggy—needs to get out of Minnesota. His father recently took his own life, his mother is a shell of the person she used to be, and his sort-of-girlfriend ghosted him and skipped town. What does he have left to stick around for? Armed with his mom’s credit card and a tourist map of Great River Road, Stiggy sets off in his dad’s car. The only prob Steven Gerald Gabel—a.k.a. Stiggy—needs to get out of Minnesota. His father recently took his own life, his mother is a shell of the person she used to be, and his sort-of-girlfriend ghosted him and skipped town. What does he have left to stick around for? Armed with his mom’s credit card and a tourist map of Great River Road, Stiggy sets off in his dad’s car. The only problem is, life on his own isn’t exactly what he expected and, soon enough, he finds himself at a crossroads: keep running from his demons, or let them hitch a ride back home with him.


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Steven Gerald Gabel—a.k.a. Stiggy—needs to get out of Minnesota. His father recently took his own life, his mother is a shell of the person she used to be, and his sort-of-girlfriend ghosted him and skipped town. What does he have left to stick around for? Armed with his mom’s credit card and a tourist map of Great River Road, Stiggy sets off in his dad’s car. The only prob Steven Gerald Gabel—a.k.a. Stiggy—needs to get out of Minnesota. His father recently took his own life, his mother is a shell of the person she used to be, and his sort-of-girlfriend ghosted him and skipped town. What does he have left to stick around for? Armed with his mom’s credit card and a tourist map of Great River Road, Stiggy sets off in his dad’s car. The only problem is, life on his own isn’t exactly what he expected and, soon enough, he finds himself at a crossroads: keep running from his demons, or let them hitch a ride back home with him.

30 review for Road Tripped

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kendall

    Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book! *long sigh* I really thought this was going somewhere. I really really did. Road Tripped follows Stiggy, your average, (and I mean REALLY average), teenage boy on a seemingly aimless trip through the American Midwest. The trip comes about after his father's suicide, which has disrupted his relationship with his mother, and after his girlfriend has moved away and not bothered to contact him at all. Now, Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book! *long sigh* I really thought this was going somewhere. I really really did. Road Tripped follows Stiggy, your average, (and I mean REALLY average), teenage boy on a seemingly aimless trip through the American Midwest. The trip comes about after his father's suicide, which has disrupted his relationship with his mother, and after his girlfriend has moved away and not bothered to contact him at all. Now, I think it's worth noting that I went into this fully expecting to not see a ton of plot. I expected this to be mostly introspective and focus more on character development and Stiggy coming to terms with all that had happened. But OH MAN I was so bored. Not only does nothing happen in this story, (which is fine), but all of the characters are either INCREDIBLY unlikable or, (the women mostly), have absolutely no substance. I couldn't keep any of them straight because they all had no discernible personality, and generally just sucked as people. Also, the way everyone, including Stiggy, talks about women is just...gross. By the time I had finished the story I felt like there was no point. I suppose Stiggy was a little bit more self-aware, but not enough for me to really consider it development. Also, it's worth noting that this is told in this non-linear way that jumps back and forth between the past and the present, but I found it generally confusing to tell these two timelines apart because nothing was happening in either time line. I am definitely in the minority in not liking this book, but the whole thing just felt so Bro-y to me, in the same way Wildman felt. Just not my jam, apparently. Trigger and Content Warnings: Suicide, death of a parent, mentions of depression and other mental illness, attempted rape/sexual assault, I think there might have been underage drinking but I honestly can't remember and I lost my notes, a weird incest comment that I still can't tell whether or not it was a joke????

  2. 4 out of 5

    Abbey

    Fact: I'm a sucker for road trip stories. And this one starts and ends in Minnesota, which is like my second home. It's written in a very easy style with fast pacing and it deals with a heavy topic without making it feel heavy or depressing. All in all, a good, quick read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tori

    So...you’re telling me that Stiggy had to go on a road trip just to figure out that he is an a-hole and that’s why he has no friends? I don’t think I’ve ever read about a character more unlikeable than Stiggy, the main character in this book. He is rude and ungrateful throughout the entire book. The problem with this is he never seems to learn from it! If this was supposed to show how Stiggy overcame his past grief and struggles and turned it around, it failed miserably. There was absolutely no c So...you’re telling me that Stiggy had to go on a road trip just to figure out that he is an a-hole and that’s why he has no friends? I don’t think I’ve ever read about a character more unlikeable than Stiggy, the main character in this book. He is rude and ungrateful throughout the entire book. The problem with this is he never seems to learn from it! If this was supposed to show how Stiggy overcame his past grief and struggles and turned it around, it failed miserably. There was absolutely no character development. Stiggy was so stupid that I think reading this book lowered my IQ more than watching Spongebob does. He doesn’t see fault in or learn from his behavior or actions and lacks any common sense. It’s all about him and what others do for him. The other characters lacked any development or personality, probably because all that matters is Stiggy. If you are going to write a story about a problematic character, you need to show how he/ she transformed throughout the book. It seems like Stiggy learned nothing from his little road trip except to “be nice if you want other people to be nice to you.” And, he won’t even follow through with this and will instead continue to be the idiot, annoying, disrespectful character that he is.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rebeka

    Road Tripped was a warning to me. Stiggy was the kind of person who is so un-self-aware that any hinting of a flaw in him confuses him. I do understand how his father played a huge role in his personality, but Stiggy's almost out of high school. He has no reason to lash out at people, and he's definitely old enough to have some sort of theory of mind (any psych nerds out there?) He needed help to sort through his feelings, but he went looking for it in the wrong places. Frankly, I'm not surprised Road Tripped was a warning to me. Stiggy was the kind of person who is so un-self-aware that any hinting of a flaw in him confuses him. I do understand how his father played a huge role in his personality, but Stiggy's almost out of high school. He has no reason to lash out at people, and he's definitely old enough to have some sort of theory of mind (any psych nerds out there?) He needed help to sort through his feelings, but he went looking for it in the wrong places. Frankly, I'm not surprised Gaia left without warning- maybe it was a bit shady, but if I were her I would have done the same thing. Stiggy only liked her because she appeared to be just as cynical as he was. But she grew out of it, and he didn't. I give this book two stars because I did finish it, and the ending was well deserved. Stiggy's aimless trip did teach me a few things: 1. Sometimes people come into your life because misery loves company, but that doesn't mean those relationships are healthy. 2. If everyone has some sort of issue with you, you need to sit down and ask yourself why. Stiggy was always calling himself an _ magnet... hmm I wonder why 3. The nexus concept was really interesting and I liked it- you can never run away from yourself, even if you go on an aimless road trip, max out your mom's credit cards, and enable people who may or may not be doing questionable things. 4. If the same person you keep coming back to is still pushing you away (Gaia), you need to leave. 5. Road Tripped was a warning to me that no matter how bad life gets, it is NEVER a reason to hurt others, like Stiggy did to Garf and his mom. You have to try to be positive. I'm not completely knocking this book- read it and hopefully you'll learn something. :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ollie

    The only reason I did not DNF this book was because I liked the format and the writing style. But the overarching feeling I had while reading this book was three things. First, I hate the names he gave them, what kind of name is Stiggy? Second, why was this written? Third, how is this character not an irredeemable jerk? Beyond the plodding plot and nonsensical endpoint the story was a generic angsty White boy who cannot understand that he is the problem. It included so many problematic elements The only reason I did not DNF this book was because I liked the format and the writing style. But the overarching feeling I had while reading this book was three things. First, I hate the names he gave them, what kind of name is Stiggy? Second, why was this written? Third, how is this character not an irredeemable jerk? Beyond the plodding plot and nonsensical endpoint the story was a generic angsty White boy who cannot understand that he is the problem. It included so many problematic elements that were never properly subverted or even examined. From the friend zone, to manic pixie dream girls and a weird incest conversation and some elements that lacked a proper version of consent. Why do we need another book about sad white boys, I thought we had moved beyond this. It was pretty sexist and Stiggy couldn’t properly express emotions. It’s 2019 I don’t want to read this again and it’s a really not worth anyone’s time. The character learns nothing until like the last two pages.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mia

    Just another generic, boring, coming of age story for another angsty, middle class white boy who gets mad when his goth girlfriend dumps him. The ending was diasatisfying. Reading this book was like eating unseasoned meat.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Rating: 3.5 Stars Stiggy believed he was an a-hole magnet. He just attracted negative people and negative attention, or so he thought. An impromptu road trip took him away from his hometown, and gave him the space to reflect on his father's death, the demise of all his relationships, and himself. I had an interesting relationship with Stiggy. He was very self absorbed, way too cynical for someone so young, and pretty much unlikable. He also often thwarted any kindness by lashing out. I think that Rating: 3.5 Stars Stiggy believed he was an a-hole magnet. He just attracted negative people and negative attention, or so he thought. An impromptu road trip took him away from his hometown, and gave him the space to reflect on his father's death, the demise of all his relationships, and himself. I had an interesting relationship with Stiggy. He was very self absorbed, way too cynical for someone so young, and pretty much unlikable. He also often thwarted any kindness by lashing out. I think that's why I appreciated his personal journey so much. It was great to see him grow and have those "a-ha" moments, and I liked the way Hautman went about it. On his road trip, Stiggy encountered many interesting characters and situations. Each of these events were sandwiched between flashbacks that related to a particular aspect of himself or his life. I thought it was a great way to give us the backstory, while also highlighting the realizations he was coming to. It was also fun to travel through the midwest. The majority of the books I read are set on the coasts, and if they are in set in the midwest, it's always in Chicago. Therefore, it was a nice change of pace to travel along the Mississippi River with Stiggy. I do wish a few things would have played out better for him, but I was happy that he got the answers he needed concerning his father's death and his recent breakup. I was also glad he got to atone (sort of) for what he did to his friend Garf, and I was very hopeful for him by the end of the book. Overall: An engaging personal journey reminding me that you get out of life what you put into it. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maura

    It has been a long time, maybe decades, maybe never, since I read a book with a protagonist more unlikeable than Stiggy. I read so many books that are inspiring and that center characters with resilience and empathy that reading Road Tripped was an unpleasant splash in the face of reality that we are surrounded by so many people like Stiggy who lack empathy, self-awareness, any ability to see another person's perspective, and basic human decency. I reserved Road Tripped because of an interest in It has been a long time, maybe decades, maybe never, since I read a book with a protagonist more unlikeable than Stiggy. I read so many books that are inspiring and that center characters with resilience and empathy that reading Road Tripped was an unpleasant splash in the face of reality that we are surrounded by so many people like Stiggy who lack empathy, self-awareness, any ability to see another person's perspective, and basic human decency. I reserved Road Tripped because of an interest in the stories of survivors of suicide loss, and the two stars that I give Hautman's novel are earned from his deft and heart-rending chapters about Stiggy's father's depression and suicide, especially the chapter when Stiggy realizes that his father's uncharacteristic lack of negativity on the day before his death was a [horrifying, hearbreaking, tragic] peace and contentment caused by his decision to end his life the next day. I love road trips myself and I thought I would really love the emotional depth of a novel about grief and a road trip. But keeping company with Stiggy for just over a week's journey was SO unpleasant because he was just. so. relentlessly. unpleasant and utterly self-centered. My heart broke for his mother, lost in her own grief, abandoned by her self-absorbed, selfish jerk of a kid, and for his so-called best friend. I don't think I was supposed to be rooting for his girlfriend and best friend to dump him, but here it was. If Hautman had allowed him to have a slightly longer resolution to show some true character development at the end, maybe I wouldn't be left with such a sour taste in my mouth, but even as a survivor of suicide loss myself, I found Stiggy to be insufferable and the novel itself to be a slog to endure.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. Kenyon

    Stiggy’s life seems to be in a downward spiral and he just feels the need to get out town. His father committed suicide a few months before, his mother is walking around in a fog and his girlfriend has left to stay with a friend. Stiggy takes his mom’s credit card and his father’s Mustang and decides to drive the Great River Road. He quickly finds out that life on his own is not any better than life at home and his road trip changes in ways he never expected. Road Tripped is a stand-alone coming Stiggy’s life seems to be in a downward spiral and he just feels the need to get out town. His father committed suicide a few months before, his mother is walking around in a fog and his girlfriend has left to stay with a friend. Stiggy takes his mom’s credit card and his father’s Mustang and decides to drive the Great River Road. He quickly finds out that life on his own is not any better than life at home and his road trip changes in ways he never expected. Road Tripped is a stand-alone coming of age novel with a little bit of humor included. Stiggy runs into a variety of characters that challenge his way of thinking and encourages him to reassess why he isn’t at home. Hautman has taken the classic road trip story and given readers a new spin on teen issues. Road Tripped is a fun escape read that doesn’t take too long to finish.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Great read. A) I am a very hard sell for road trip novels... but this one was more than tolerable. Alternating flashback chapters really helped. Also the absence of a soon-to-be soulmate road trip buddy. B) I don’t know if I have ever met a guy like Stiggy in YA... but BOY HAVE I MET THIS GUY IN REAL LIFE. The kind of guy who complains to the cashier when he doesn’t like how his smoothie tastes because “it’s my duty as a consumer to let them know their product sucks.” He’s not likeable by any se Great read. A) I am a very hard sell for road trip novels... but this one was more than tolerable. Alternating flashback chapters really helped. Also the absence of a soon-to-be soulmate road trip buddy. B) I don’t know if I have ever met a guy like Stiggy in YA... but BOY HAVE I MET THIS GUY IN REAL LIFE. The kind of guy who complains to the cashier when he doesn’t like how his smoothie tastes because “it’s my duty as a consumer to let them know their product sucks.” He’s not likeable by any sense of the word, but Hautman dives deep into his character - flaws and all - rendering him just endearing enough to make you root for him. A little. Really well-done.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amy Hautman Bates

    What a wild ride! I couldn’t put this story down until I knew if Stiggy landed on his feet (or not). Angry, sad, lonely, sensitive Stiggy, having to sort out all kinds of big important things like love and loss, finds himself thinking “I don’t want to die. But I wouldn’t mind being dead for a while.” Hope and desperation at the exact same time. Hautman is brilliant at putting those multi-layered emotional experiences into words. I think I’ll read "Road Tripped" again, tonight.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy Hearst

    I loved this book. I’m a huge fan of Pete and he did not disappoint. I am the mother of a teenage son and this book helped me in a funny way to understand how difficult it is for teenage boys to express themselves. I laughed pretty hard at a few parts too. This is a great book for teens - it has nature themes but a main character with few words and a big heart.

  13. 4 out of 5

    cj

    I really enjoy books like this. I read the first couple chapters with my eight-year-old brother, censoring a lot of the cursing, and he also enjoyed the way things tied together. I love introspection and traveling in books, so putting them together like this was really awesome. Good find for my local library’s YA new release section!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shanya

    Honestly, this book is getting three stars because of how much I enjoyed the chapters being song titles. It honestly was like I was on the road with Stiggy, with the windows rolled down, arm hanging in the wind, and classic tunes playing through the speakers. It felt like an adventure. But the background stories fell short and so did the ending.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeri

    3.5

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I liked this book it was a fast read,but I did not like the ending !

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carey Copeland

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hunter

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  20. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Hightower

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC of Road Tripped by Pete Hautman. The writing style of this author made the book enjoyable to read. Stiggy is not happy with his life and embarks on a road trip to get away from everything. He has some adventures along the way, many of them not positive. In the end he realizes his life wasn't so bad after all, and returns home.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Hannam

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sunny Hashire

  23. 4 out of 5

    Malesa Mayhall

  24. 5 out of 5

    Beth Dettman

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anonymous

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

  27. 5 out of 5

    Isabel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Greg Alig

  29. 4 out of 5

    Addison Christian

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brooke DeLucia

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