Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: 7th July 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on GoodreadsNote: I own the US version of this book, but have included information about the UK release.
Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself. (from Goodreads)
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was pretty much everything a road trip book should be. I loved the scrapbook element which included photos and emails and receipts and playlists with doodles on them – it added so much to the whole road trip experience and I wished I could fall into the book and tag along (though that probably would have ruined it for Amy and Roger. But I was jealous of all the awesome things they got to see and all the great food they got to try! :P). This was a brilliant summer read and I don’t know what took me so long to read it!
Amy was a character I found quite easy to connect to. I could understand why she was so reluctant to go on this road trip, and how she was still grieving for her father while the rest of family left her alone to deal with it. I found her character believable – she wasn’t really up to talking with anyone and most conversations at the start were a bit awkward and forced. She was quite reserved and often didn’t know how to react in certain social situations. She and Roger started off not really speaking much to each other, and who could blame her because she was practically being forced to go on this trip with some guy she barely knew and would have to spend four days with. She was struggling with feelings of guilt and depression and felt spending time with some almost stranger wasn’t going to help. However, as she got to know Roger and went on the “detour” with him, she started to open up more, talk and make jokes and got to know some other people. I loved meeting Bronwyn, who was one of Roger’s friends, and felt that was maybe one of the first things that helped Amy. I also really liked Lucien, who Roger and Amy met towards the end, and I hoped things worked out for him!
I liked Roger more and more as the book went on. At first I didn’t really understand what he was doing on the road trip, then when I found out I felt like he handled the whole break-up with his ex very badly. I didn’t get why he was doing what he was doing and wished he would have given up on the whole idea, but it was clear he was really upset and I did want him to get some closure. And as the journey went on, I really started to like him more. I love how he talked to Amy, and the games of twenty questions they played and how they made jokes with each other and generally just talked about lots of random things. I felt like Amy opened up more because of the way he spoke to her – she felt like she could trust him and he was really kind and understanding about everything. I also loved the romance because although it was slow (well, as slow as it can be over a week), it was great to see how they both gradually became more comfortable with each other and there were subtle hints and points of tension throughout that suggested that maybe they felt a bit more for each other than they were letting on.
The actual road trip was awesome. There was always good music playing (I’ve got to check out the music on the playlists they made) and they were constantly stopping off at places to buy snacks (cream soda for Amy, ginger beer for Roger and by the end they had that memorised). They got to see and stay in a lot of different places (coughhoneymoonsuitecough), met a lot of cool people and even drove on The Loneliest Road in America! Like I said before, the scrapbook stuff really helped me imagine everything that was happening, and the last receipt in the book just made me smile so much. I really liked how it all ended – it was a bit open, which I usually don’t like much, but I felt it really worked for Amy and Roger! My only real problem was that there was a small side story about Amy’s friend Julia that seemed quite important and was mentioned several times, but then was never really resolved and seemed to be wrapped up in one line at the end. I would have liked to have seen more about how it worked out and maybe even read a few of the emails involved, but other than that, I really enjoyed the story.
Overall, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was a fantastic summer read and I’d definitely recommend it too all contemp fans, old or new!