Title: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Publisher: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour wasn’t just the fun, summer road trip book I was expecting, but I still loved it all the same. There’s definitely a bit of heartbreak, and some moments while I was reading left me feeling like there was a hole in my chest, but Matson wrote ED in a way that allows you to heal along with the characters as the story progresses. The characters were very relatable, and written in a way that makes them seem like they could be right next to you. One of the best parts of the book was the way Matson included small tokens from the characters’ trip – receipts and post cards and pictures. ED is down to earth, easy to relate to, and I think everyone should read it at least once! Take it from the girl who doesn’t like contemporary!
Before I start anything, I’d like to thank Andi from the bottom of my heart for sending me the most beautiful hardback of this book! And now that I’ve done that, I’d also like to say that you are a heartless person and should have warned me of the feels contained in this book. I thought it would be a light, summery read, but NO I GOT PAIN AND HEARTBREAK INSTEAD. But I still love you 😉
Basically: ED (we’ll abbreviate it as that from now) IS a light and summery road trip type book, but it’s also unexpectedly deep and, at times, gut wrenching. Now this is partially my fault, because I didn’t read the synopsis and just knew that it was a road trip book, but books about absent fathers (by choice or by illness) are pretty hard for me right now. So I did get a bit of a book hangover, but it was a good one.
I really don’t have any complaints about ED, except maybe that the romance escalated a bit quickly towards the end. But even so, I hesitated to categorize this as romance, just because ED is so much more than that! It’s about healing and moving forward, and reconciling with yourself and family members. I think one of the most important themes of the book was to take time and appreciate life; explore a bit, be crazy, drive over half the US with only $400 to your name. And it’s totally made me want to take a road trip of my own!
While I usually complain about pop culture references in books, it just worked in ED. All the inserts with pictures of In N Out receipts, postcards, and playlists with music that I kind of recognized (I always smiled when I saw Owl City on there) made the trip more real and concrete. It was a really personal touch, and I’m so glad Matson included it in the book. And to be honest, I like ED more than Matson’s sophomore book, Second Chance Summer. Amy and Roger are great characters, with little quirks and habits that make them three dimensional and very relatable. They stayed with me more than the story and characters of SCS.
I don’t want to spoil anything about this book, so I’ll end my review right here. But truly, this is an incredible book. Keep in mind that it isn’t as breezy and fun as the cover promises, but the feels are worth it.
My Final Rating: