Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: May 4th, 2010
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've been pretty excited about reading Amy & Roger's Epic Detour for a while now, so I was ecstatic- no, make that euphoric- when I found a copy in one of my local bookstores. I was made even happier when I finally read it and found it to be an adorable book that not only met, but exceeded my expectations.
Amy loses her father in a car accident, so her mother decides to relocate the family from California to Connecticut. But since Amy still has a month of school left, she leaves a month after her mother and rides with Roger, the son of a family friend. Stuck in a car with nothing but a map, snacks, some music and a boy who secretly has some drama of his own, Amy's about to set out on a cross-country adventure that'll make her see America, and herself, in a whole new light.
I'm a big fan of roadtrip books and movies (I love going on roadtrips with my family, myself), so I had a strong feeling I was going to enjoy this book even before I started reading it. I could not have been more right, as it turns out, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour was a book I thoroughly enjoyed. There were just so many things I loved about it!
First off, I loved the presentation of the book itself. The pages of the book are made to look like pages of Amy's travel journal which her mother gives her in the beginning of the novel, so the pages are stuffed with images, receipts, postcards, playlists and whatnot. Aesthetics are very important to me, so seeing the visual representations of the visual memorabilia Amy collects from the trip was something I that only amplified my enjoyment of the novel.
The story itself is also pretty fabulous. Two teens in a car who take a detour to see different landmarks around America? Amy and Roger get to know each other deeply even though the trip is only a few days long because of the experiences they go through together, and to be able to do something like that... It would be epic. And the plot isn't all sunny days and happiness. Amy and Roger have issues of their own that they deal and are revealed as the plot thickens, so there's depth amidst all the fun and lightheartedness.
Amy and Roger are great protagonists as well. They're three-dimensional, and they both seem like the type of people I'd love to have as my friends. They're also pretty different from each other, yet their compatibility is undeniable, so even though the romance doesn't start 'til a little later in the novel, it's always fun to read their conversations and playful banter. The secondary characters that they encounter in each stop are profound in their own ways as well, and they each show Amy and Roger a bit of the country and at the same time help them discover a little bit more about themselves.
It's the little things in the novel that help bring the story together. The songs in the playlists, the quotes in the beginnings of each chapter, even the places the characters go to... They all make sense, and they're all coherent. The plot, characters and writing are all great, but the details that make up the big picture are the icing on top of the cake that is the novel.
It has its share of drama and pain, but Amy & Roger's Epic Detour is still a fun book that channels happiness like summer sunshine. It's a brilliant debut novel and the perfect read to end the summer with a bang. I'm so glad I got the chance to read it, and I definitely suggest you read it if you haven't already.