Author: Morgan Matson
Published: May 4, 2010 (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Rating: Staying in Tonight
Format: Hardcover, borrowed from the library
Summary: 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.So, the other day this thing happened. It was called a #LitLush Twitter chat. It came up that Magan, Cass, Sana, and I had never read Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. And that was, apparently, entirely unacceptable. Thus, an impromptu readalong was promptly set up.
I was always scared this was going to be one of those overly-hyped books. You know, the one you see EVERYWHERE, and everyone loves it. So your expectations are a little higher than they would be for a book you just picked up randomly off a shelf because it looked good. Then you read it...and you don't get it. It's fine, but nothing special. Thankfully, this was NOT the case with Amy & Roger. It is beloved for good reason.
I harbor a lot of adoration for this book. It took me a while to fall in love. While I really liked it in the beginning, it grew more and more magnificent as the story progressed. I finally got a chance to sit down and devour it after a couple days, and I was so grateful! Because by then, I was completely immersed in the the story.
It's been a while since I've been on a road trip, and this book majorly renewed my desire to do it again. There are only three things that are absolutely mandatory for a great road trip: good music, good company, and good snacks. And this book had them all. I LOVED how much music there was in this book. I knew a bit of Roger's music, but I'm a huge musical fan. So if we were to compare our iTunes, I probably would have had a lot more in common with Amy.
I loved both Roger and Amy. They both had their issues to work through. They were in a potentially rather awkward situation, driving cross-country with a near stranger. But they found a way to make the most of it, visiting places they wanted to see, accidentally taking deserted roads, finding unexpected friends, and confronting pieces of their past. My only complaint is that I would have liked a little more resolution with Amy's best friend. There was an issue mentioned several times, but it was never really resolved.
The way the book was written was very appealing. Though I know some people aren't a fan, I love the jumping back-and-forth in time approach to books. It keeps you on your toes, and it reveals things as they need to be known. And I much prefer flashbacks to infodumping. You really get to know the characters better that way, too. Matson used the flashbacks very wisely in this book. There were enough to know the story and the characters, but not enough to feel superfluous.
I happened to be obsessing over the new Jillette Johnson album at the time I was reading this. As a rule (although there are exceptions), I don't listen to music with words while I'm reading. I love the music too much and get pulled out of the story because I want to sing along. But there was a really obnoxious bird right outside while I was reading, so I put on this album while I was reading to drown it out. Around the second time around, it hit me that one of the songs was perfect for the book! "True North" wound up sort of becoming my Amy & Roger theme song.
Overall, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour was a thoroughly charming read. If you've yet to read this one, a few words of advice: be prepared to cry a little, swoon quite a bit more, and be bitten by the road trip bug. And if you're like me, you'll enjoy every second! Now, I just need to read Second Chance Summer. After I've restocked all the Kleenaxes in the apartment. I have a feeling I'll be needing them.
“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,” I could still hear him intoning, “never end a sentence with a preposition!” Irked that after six years he was still mentally correcting me, I told the Mr. Collins in my head to off fuck.
But I’d always loved the chance to become someone else for a few hours. Someone for whom the words had been written, every gesture and emotion plotted, and the ending figured out. Almost like life. Just without the surprises.
There sometimes isn’t much difference between a knight’s quest and a fool’s errand.