Monday, 18 July 2011

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

5 Stars. (Young Adult)
If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would!
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was in a word, EPIC. I absolutely loved this book and when I finished it had the strong urge to pick it back up and start the journey all over again from the beginning. I’ve always loved the idea of a road trip although I’ve never been on one myself. This book was so good with description. The small towns and states these two were crossing, the emotions, smells, feelings and friendships were all superbly realized throughout the journey to the point where the reader really feels like they’re in the car along for the ride with Amy and Roger. From the moment they start for Yosemite, you know as a reader that this story is going to be good. Both Amy and Roger are searching for something, Amy for a way to move on past the tragic loss her family has suffered, and Roger, although he appears to be searching for one thing is actually on a path to finding what he never expected. Cagey I know, but I don’t want to spoil anything. Let’s just say that this ‘road trip’ book isn’t fluff and nonsense, the characters are facing challenges and the trip is especially about Amy coming to terms with herself and the status of her family since their loss. She’s struggling and this trip across America is helping her to heal.

I really enjoyed both main characters. Amy was fragile and broken at the beginning and readers wonder if she can get past her grief and heartache. She’s very reluctant to express her feelings or talk about anything that has happened to her the past few months; she’s afraid and has sheltered herself from the world. But in walks Roger, sweet, understanding, supportive and all those good things a girl looks for in a guy. He’s genuinely a nice guy and tries as much as he can to be a shoulder for Amy to lean on. These two start out as basic strangers, having played ‘spud’ together as kids in their cul-de-sac their only connection. As the ride continues, however, you can start to see the subtle changes in their relationship and the ways these two learn about one another and become intrinsically linked. Amy started to open up as the journey progressed and readers could see the subtle changes in her personality. She started to express herself more, was laughing and having fun, allowing herself to find the girl she’d left behind all those months ago.

Every moment in this book is important to the story as a whole and I loved that Matson included scenes from Amy's past so that we as readers got to know her better, but coudl also see how much she has been hurting and how much her family has changed over the past few months. It's a sad story and I had tears in my eyes during one particular flast back, but there is hope and this book ends on a very hopeful note.

The music is another thing that must be mentioned. Throughout the book, Matson includes playlists that Roger, A.K.A The DJ makes for every leg of their journey. The playlist titles are creative and hilarious and fit perfectly with the trip these two are on. I can’t say I’m a huge music fan, I mean of course I like music, but I’ve always been more into alternative, indie stuff than mainstream top 40 tunes so the fact that I ended up knowing many of the songs in this book was a treat! The Weepies (who I love!) were featured a few times on the playlist and I smiled every time I saw one of their songs on the list. This actually happened a lot every time I saw a song I knew because they seemed to fit so well with the point in the story. Matson also cleverly includes bits and pieces for their stops. Receipts, hotel stubs, Yosemite park adventures, photos and scrapbook entries are all a part of this wonderful book and they only serve to make the reader feel more a part of the story and adventure being had.
The only thing I could possibly mention that was just a smidge of a letdown was the ending between Amy and Roger. Ultimately it ended exactly perfectly for this story, but at the same time, I’m a fan of a clean cut ending and this one was a little more open winged. You’ll get what I mean when you read this book (note I wrote ‘when’ not ‘if’, basically read it! You won’t regret it, I swear.) but there is one last diner receipt on the very last page that points to the clean cut conclusion I was hoping for. This really isn’t a negative, but it’s the one thing that leapt into my head when I thought about whether there was anything I could possibly not like about this fabulous book.

With heart, intrigue, fun characters, fun places, adventure, heartache and everything in between Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was the best road trip book I’ve read. You feel so much a part of this book and the lives of these characters and there really is something magical about travelling across a country by car and seeing where you might end up along the way. Part of the fun is driving without a plan and picking destinations as you go, you never know who you might meet or what you might find, and really, that’s the whole fun of it!

This book made me want to hop in the car and travel across the US. I’ve only been to two states so it would probably be an amazing journey :)

1 comment:

  1. You have convinced me to add this to my to-read list! It sounds really amazing! I will be picking it up on my next trip to the library :) Nice review!