Monday, August 26, 2013

REVIEW: "Amy and Roger's Epic Detour" by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
For Ages 13+
Young Adult -- Contemporary
Simon and Schuster -- May 4, 2012
Paperback, 368 pages
Purchased from Half-Price Books

Road Trip, Grief

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.

I sat on the front steps of my house and watched the beige Subaru station wagon swing too quickly around the cul-de-sac.

I love road trip books so I was instantly grabbed by the premise of Amy and Roger's Epic Detour.  The fact that the trip is across country and involves two almost, but not quite strangers makes that much more interesting for me.  I found this book to be entertaining, engrossing, and thought-provoking in the way that great road trips can be.

Our heroine, and narrator, is Amelia "Amy" Curry, a soon-to-be senior in high school who is forced to endure this road trip in order to drive her mother's car from California to Connecticut.  Amy is a pretty typical YA heroine with average intelligence, decent looks, and a sarcastic look at the world around her.  But, what made her stand out to me was the fact that she is grieving over the recent death of her father.  I really connected with Amy and how lost she feels in her life right now.  This road trip allowed her to become comfortable with living again and understand how to best honor her father's memory.  I love reading about journeys (physical and mental) that characters take so this one being a combination of both was perfect for me.

Roger gives off similar vibes to other quirky, cute YA guys like Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door.  But, I didn't have too much of a problem with that since it is a formula that works well in these types of stories.  I did like the fact that Roger had a journey of his own to deal with rather than only being the sweet guy who imparts life-changing wisdom to the heroine.  His acceptance of the truth about his relationship with his ex-girlfriend was a nice wrinkle to the overall story line.  I could easily see why Amy would fall for him and definitely have high hopes for the future of their relationship.

The biggest thing that stuck out to me about this particular road trip story was the fact that the author had obviously gone on this very trip herself.  The entire trip is documented through various means like notes on napkins, photos, receipts, playlists, etc.  I loved reading about all the great sites that Roger and Amy visited like "The Loneliest Road in America" and Graceland.  There were tons of interesting people to meet like the nice gas station lady in Nevada, Roger's college friends, and his ex-girlfriend's brother in Louisville.  And, of course, Matson focuses on my favorite part of road trips: the food.  Readers get to hear all about the fascinating food that Amy and Roger discover along the way with my personal favorite being the delicious Hot Brown from my hometown.

In conclusion, I loved almost every minutes of reading Amy and Roger's Epic Detour.  It is a road trip story, but still so much more when you discover the journey that Amy needs to take to deal with her father's death.  I was really impressed with Morgan Matson's writing skills and will be checking out more of her work in the future.


“Tomorrow will be better.”
“But what if it’s not?” I asked.
“Then you say it again tomorrow. Because it might be. You never know, right? At some point, tomorrow will be better.”

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