Published by Simon & Schuster
Date Published: May 4, 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.First, a little background information.
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 first picked up Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour right before embarking on my own EPIC road trip (Austin, TX to New York City) and thought it would be a good morale booster (I was doing ALL of the driving). So I read it and was completely smitten.
Then I went on this road trip, came back and somehow loved this book even more than before! And believe me, I wanted to run around in a flowered, open field with this book before, so you can imagine how much I love it now. So now I’m going to try and cut the fangirling and get down to the actual reasons I loved this book so much.
First you have Amy and Roger. Two teens battling their own inner demons stuck in a car together to drive across the country. Can we say beautiful? Their demons are perfectly balanced with the slightly snarky humor that left me bursting out with laughter. Add the carefree sense of adventure and these two make the list of my favorite protagonists ever.
And then there are the secondary characters that came, made their mark and left were just perfectly done. Not only did they really flesh out Amy and Roger, but make their demon-ridden pasts real and show their growths.
This point might not make 100% sense, but it’s the best I can describe how I truly feel. This book was just PERFECT to me. You know when you read a book and you see the characters going off in some direction and you just think ‘OMG. Really? I have to read along with you through this giant mistake/ boring part/ all around dumb idea now?’ and then you wish you were reading a Choose Your Own Adventure novel and skip the next 50 pages?
Well, I never had one moment of that while reading this. In fact, there was one point in particular (no spoilers) where I threw my hands up in celebration due to a slightly unexpected choice a character made. This book was just perfect! No dragging points, no pointless endeavors, no OMGREALLY? moments. It was just perfect. Oh, and the end (again, no spoilers, never!) was so PERFECT! I really need a thesaurus, don’t I?
That being said, I’m pretty sure that Matson has set a high bar for any other YA novels that want to attempt a road trip novel. And I have to admit as an aspiring writer, this is certainly one of the few books out there I wish I had written.
Other super awesome points:
- Holy formatting! Or holy artwork! Or whatever it is they call that in publishing. The drawings and pictures and stuff kept me thoroughly intrigued. Seriously, go Simon and Schuster for making that call. It was awesome and scrapbook-y.
- AWESOME playlists. Personally, I like Roger’s music taste more, and I have to admit that I really, really wanted to make a Roger playlist for my roadtrip. However, the lack of time squashed that bizarre desire.
- Sock skating in WalMart. Clearly, Roger is after my heart.
I can already tell that out of the almost 50 books I've read this year so far, this will be a top favorite of the year. I will so so so be looking forward to Morgan Matson’s coming works with serious anticipation.