If you didn’t already know that David Steinberg wrote screenplays for the American Pie series, you’d guess it by the time you finish his debut novel, “Last Stop This Town.” The book reads like a teen movie; it’s filled with sex, drinking and, of course, the ubiquitous bromance. It features a group of four close friends, Dylan, Noah, Walker and Pike, celebrating the end of their senior year of high school before they embark on the journey of adult life. The characters are cut from a cloth familiar to American movie-goers: there’s the womanizer, the loyal wingman, the socially-stunted dork and the stoner. And they are all (conveniently) best friends.
Steinberg is most definitely funny—in addition to his work with the American Pie series, he has nearly five decades of experience in the entertainment industry. He has done stand-up, directed films and television shows like “Seinfeld” and “Friends” and has even written a memoir. But in “Last Stop This Town,” Steinberg fails to create original content and break away from the typical “teen movie” clichés dispersed throughout the novel. There’s drug experimentation gone wrong, the constant sex-fueled hunt for girls and a mention of the token parental conflict thrown in for good measure.
“Last Stop This Town” does bring something new to the table in terms of some of its plot elements. Yet although the plot only covers two or three days in these kids’ lives, it manages to include an unbelievable number of wild occurrences. In just the first 20 pages, the four friends have already had far too many sentimental coming-of-age moments, have almost killed a senior citizen while drag racing and they have had a man literally fling his feces at them. For someone with his experience in comedy, Steinberg relies too much on cheap laughs and archetypes to further his story.
Believability aside, “Last Stop This Town” is a fun summer read. It is geared more toward younger teenage guys, but anyone who doesn’t mind a good dose of obscenity can enjoy it. The novel certainly has its faults—the characters aren’t particularly relatable, the plot is a little trite and the message verges on being overly didactic—but it is no doubt entertaining.