Monday, 30 April 2012
Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Publication Date: May 4th, 2012
Genre: YA, Contemporary
In the last three months, Amy Curry’s life has changed in ways she never saw coming. After the death of her father, it felt like she needed her family more than ever only to have them leave her. Now that her junior year is over, Amy is about to leave Southern California for Connecticut, where her mom is waiting for her in their new home. Some last minute changes result in Amy taking an unexpected road trip instead of flying out, so that the family car can be in Connecticut as well. Amy’s mom has planned the whole trip, including picking the driver. Roger is the son of an old family friend who is spending his summer with his dad in Philadelphia and needs a ride. The route Amy’s mom has planned is supposed to take four days, but Amy and Roger have a different idea. Instead of relying on the well planned out route they never chose, they decide to go on a few detours, completely abandoning the set route and taking much more time than four days. Visiting fifteen states in total, Roger and Amy see America in a way they never have before, from the loneliest road in America to a young Southern gentleman with a passion for shrub art. As they get to know each other while they put miles between them and California, they realize that it’s life’s detours that make the moments worth remembering.
Summer is slowly approaching and soon everyone will be looking for the perfect summer read. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour definitely meets the criteria: romance, road trip adventure, playlists and summer. This book is interesting in a lot of ways, one being that it includes copies of receipts, snapshots, e-mails, playlists, scraps of paper and notes from Amy’s travel journal. This all worked well, especially since you can learn so much from a receipt or a report card. I love playlists being included in books about road trips, since music is always what I remember most about any road trip. Plus, I like the music featured in this book. If you want to look at the playlists in the books, you can see my scans here. The writer actually did the trip Amy and Roger do in this book, spending a whole month to do it. This showed in the book, with all the little details included.
As the book begins, Amy has a lot of issues and the fact that she’s supposed to spend an entire road trip with someone she doesn’t know isn’t helping things. However, after being in a car together for hours on end, her and Roger get to know each other very quickly. Both begin their journey with issues of their own, and although a road trip doesn’t magically fix all of their problems, it does help them see what they need to do to change things. I liked how different things worked its way into the story and the role those things played, like explorers and sharing music. In a road trip to a lot of unexpected places, Amy and Roger meet a number of interesting people, from a boy named Muz who asks them to deliver a message to a Virginia Dairy Queen, to a boy in a band named in honour of The Wizard of Oz. And, for the record, let me say that Henry Gale sounds like the greatest band to ever grace the world. Everything was well paced and always interesting, including the flashbacks of Amy’s life before the trip. I thought the characters felt real and I definitely liked Amy. I liked Roger for the most part, although midway through I felt annoyed with how he was so caught up in his ex. I still liked his relationship with Amy and seeing them come to know each other, state by state. I adored Bronwyn, but her generosity was a bit unbelievable to me. Overall, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is a book about self-discovery and the unexpected trips we take that make us who we are. Difficult to put down, this book is perfect for anyone who ever has the slightest urge to pack their things and drive anywhere without knowing exactly where they’re going.
“The thing about Magellan is the thing about all these explorers. Most of the time, they’re just determined to chase impossible things. And most of them are so busy looking at the horizon that they can’t even see what’s right in front of them.”