Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour
by Morgan Matson
“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.”
Amy Curry doesn’t recognize herself anymore. After the tragic death of her father, Amy and her family are lost and disconnected from each other – her mother decides that they need to sell their house in California and move to Connecticut, her brother goes to rehab and Amy’s lost her direction and sense of self. After finishing out the school year, Amy is going to take the family car and join her mother in Connecticut. However, after the accident Amy doesn’t drive. Enter her old neighbor Roger who is home from college and going to spend the summer with his dad in Pennsylvania. Amy’s mom comes up with the perfect solution: Amy and Roger can drive cross-country using the carefully crafted itinerary she has designed. But sometimes plans are made to be broken and as the title states, Amy and Roger go on one epic detour across America because it’s the journey and not the destination that’s important.
Told through a traditional narrative style sprinkled with scrap-book like items and playlists, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour show us that the best discoveries are the ones we make when we aren’t looking for them.
In looking back at my most recent book reviews, I become a little worried. I worry that people will think that I am too complimentary – that they will ask themselves, “Does she only give positive reviews to books? She LOVES everything.” But I looked back at those novels and my opinions stand – I have been reading some really stellar books and am not going to worry that people think I am too positive.
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour falls squarely into my stellar books category. Well-developed, nuanced characters are so important to me as a reader. Matson excels in this area – Amy has so many different layers that peel back as the novel progresses. You are right with her in her intense grief and guilt over her father’s death. She has the most wonderful voice – wry and caring. The way that she kept comparing herself to Amy!, the girl who she imagined her stripped down room represented, was hilarious and in comparing the two, I was able to get a better idea of who Amy really was. And Roger- I just loved him and his nickname, Magellan. The secondary characters like Bronwyn and Lucien are also dimensional – more so then I have seen in a lot of other novels. The fact that I remember their names says a lot about their impact on me (I have a terrible time remembering character names-even as I am reading. Weird, I know) Matson really has her finger on the pulse of what teens are like today, what makes them tick and their voices.
I read this book on my Nook so I am not sure I got to experience the full effect of the little notes, postcards, receipts, pictures and music play lists sprinkled throughout the book. However, I thought they were a wonderful addition to help further develop this story. It almost made it seem like a travelogue and really gave me the itch to go on a road trip this summer. Sidebar – I LOVE road trips. In college, my roommates and I drove down to the land of fun and sun, Daytona, Florida, for our university’s sponsored trip. Florida was great but it was the stops we made along the way (world’s largest alligator, Fountain of Youth) that really made the trip. – End Sidebar
I also appreciated the theme of this novel which was subtly woven throughout. Each of us have a journey to take – there might be roadblocks or obstacles that we need to overcome, but life is about taking one step at a time and enjoying the experience.
This novel is a treat. I strongly encourage you to join Amy and Roger on the road trip of a lifetime and read Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson! This was Matson’s debut novel, and in my opinion, she is an author to watch.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Recommendation: 15 and older
Rating: 4.75 / 5
For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read. I have always viewed words as having a magical quality-able to transport, illuminate and inspire. I was able to parlay this love of reading into a career as a language arts teacher and am able to encourage students every day to find books that “speak” to them. I decided to blog about the books I read because books are meant to be shared and discussed. 🙂