Title: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
After a month alone in her home as it’s in the process of being sold Amy is getting ready to fly to Connecticut, however before she leaves her mother asks her to change her plans. To save on the price of shipping her car she asks Amy to take a road trip from California to Connecticut. Amy hasn’t driven a car since the accident that killed her father, an accident she blames herself for, so her mother has asked Roger, who needs to get to Philadelphia for the summer, to drive.
The trip has already been planned for them; the mileage set, the hotels reserved along the road, and Amy and Roger have four days to make their journey. Both Amy and Roger have something they are trying to move past, something they want to forget and something they don’t want to talk about, so when Roger sees how uninspired the route set out for them is and suggests a detour Amy agrees. As long as they make it to Connecticut by the 10th her mum should be none the wiser.
Roger picks the tunes and the snacks, Amy picks their first stop and the two of them set off on their journey. They go to Yosemite, travel along the loneliest road in America, and drive through Utah, Kentucky, Kansas and Memphis on their journey. As they drive mile after mile both Amy and Roger slowly start finding the courage they need to face what it is they’re each running from.
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is an amazing book, and so far my favourite by Morgan Matson. It’s largely about the character development of both Amy and Roger, and while it was character development that really stood out for me the story itself was just as wonderful. We follow Amy and Roger all over America; I loved seeing all the states they visited, and watching as these two characters started to heal and grow together.
Amy has always been the responsible child, unlike her brother, so even though she is uncomfortable in a car after the accident, and isn’t comfortable with someone she doesn’t know driving, she agrees to her mother’s plan. Until she’s on the road. The detour is a small rebellion against her mother, one Amy tells herself her mother should never find out about if they make it to Connecticut on time.
After losing her father Amy has essentially shut down. She’s pushed all her friends away and after spending the last month alone she doesn’t have anyone to talk to about what happened. The more Amy travels along the road though the more you see her heal in small ways as she meets people who change her outlook on life and help her move forwards.
Roger, like Amy, is struggling to deal with something personal, and at first it seems to be all that’s on his mind. His girlfriend broke up with him, giving him no explanation and leaving all his calls unanswered meaning Roger has no closure. As Amy chases acceptance over her father’s death Roger chases Hadley for answers as to what happened between them.
The relationship between Amy and Roger was one that was slow to develop and one that seemed to take a secondary role in the story. The most important part of this book, first and foremost, was the individual development of Roger and Amy, and the romance never overshadowed their journeys. It also wasn’t a case where their romance healed all, Amy’s growing feelings for Roger never meant that what happened to her dad was easier to move past.
Even though they are not in the story themselves, Amy’s relationship with her family is an incredibly important part of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. We sees in flashbacks what happened after her father died; how Amy, her brother Charlie and her mother drifted apart, none of them able to talk about what happened, all dealing with their grief privately. Before he died Amy was incredibly close to her father. Where Charlie is his mother’s son Amy was her father’s daughter, which makes what happened all the harder for her to deal with.
After reading more of Morgan Matson’s books I can see why people refer to her as one of the Queens of the YA contemporary genre. She writes incredible stories full of wonderful characters, relationships, and journeys. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is a brilliant story, and one I’d highly recommend for anyone who loves plenty of wanderlust in their books.
What did you think of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.