Friday, May 14, 2010
Review: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Title: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub. Date: 5.4.2010
Keywords: Road trip, Grief, Loss, Family, Romance, Music
Description (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.
First off, I absolutely adored this novel. Romance and road trips are like the siren call of chocolate, I'm unable to resist. Throw in the complication of the recent loss of a father by way of car accident and you've got a story I need to read. I love a happy ending, but the struggle and pain of my main character is what makes it all worthwhile.
This novel is especially unique in that playlists and artifacts from the road trip are scattered throughout the book. The playlists were absolutely amazing! Roger and I (and the author!) have similar taste in music, so I was familiar with many of the bands and songs. I was intrigued by the ones I didn't know, which led to looking them up and finding many new bands and songs to love! One of my favorite road trip scraps is from early on in the novel, when Amy and Roger stop at Yellowstone. They choose to go on a guided activity hike in which they must periodically stop and write poems. Needless to say, they aren't taking their assignment very seriously and their poems are hilarious. Plus, the reader has their first peek at Amy and Roger's chemistry. Having these extras was not only fun, it added another dimension to the characters.
Morgan Matson did a wonderful job of creating her characters. So often, characters only really have one dimension or the author doesn't give the reader anything to allow them to connect and know the characters. Each and every one of Matson's characters had a story... they each had something that made them linger in my mind. It isn't often that I can finish a novel and remember each minor character as well as the main ones, especially weeks after I've read the novel. Matson's mastery makes me want to stand up and applaud! I felt such a connection to to each character, that I can honestly say that if Matson decided to write a novel about any one of the characters in Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, I'd read it in a heartbeat.
Amy and Roger's relationship is one of my all time favorites. Their back and forth banter and concern for one another completely won me over and left me smiling. I love when I'm reading a novel and I know that two characters are perfect for one another, but the characters haven't realized it yet, and then, suddenly, it clicks for one of them. You can pinpoint that moment when they know that they belong with that person and regardless of whether they began their epic detour with a completely different intention, it has delivered them to the place, and person, they really needed.
I feel that I must add, that the loss of Amy's father and the current shattered state of her family are not solved by her unexpected romance with Roger. I'm extremely appreciative of this detail, as there are novels in which the main character's problems suddenly disappear because she's met a boy. Amy finds love on her epic detour, but, ultimately, it is the people she meets and stops to see along the way that help her move forward with her life.
I love the cover! Some readers don't like the whole "headless models" cover trend, and to a certain extent neither do I, but I really enjoyed this cover. I actually had never even heard of this book before, but the cover and title caught my eye. Thank goodness!