Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2010
Since Amy's father died in a car crash, her life has been flipped upside down. Her mother decided to take a job in Connecticut, far away from the memories of how their family used to be; her brother Charlie is sent away to a rehab clinic in North Carolina; and now Amy has to drive her mother's car from California to the new house. The only problem? Amy can't bring herself to drive after the accident. Enter Roger, friend from childhood (and whom she hasn't seen since), who has to get to Pennsylvania to spend the summer with his father. After reviewing the route Amy's mom mapped out for them, they decide it is much too boring and plan to drive wherever they feel like going.
I had heard a lot of good things about Amy and Roger's Epic Detour before finally picking it up, thinking it would make for a good book club choice (by the way, if anyone is interested and lives near Burlington, MA, it will be July 8 at 7 p.m.). It did make for a good summer read, enhanced with a bevy of visuals and what I'm sure are excellent playlists, but overall I didn't think it was anything truly remarkable.
I think I was most annoyed at how we didn't find out about the actual accident until the book was almost over. I understand why Matson structured it that way, but I found myself just getting frustrated and annoyed that Amy couldn't bring herself to reveal what happened until then. It's not like it was a big surprise; I guessed at the basics, and the full story revealed very few details.
The writing and character development didn't do much for me either. No phrases struck me as noteworthy, and the characters themselves didn't really have much personality besides their music interests and Amy's grief. I couldn't feel any chemistry between Amy and Roger, either.
But despite all this, Amy and Roger makes for a great road trip book. I learned a lot about the states the duo drove through, thanks to the handy dandy travel journal Amy filled out during the trip (loved how Matson used and included this) and random facts—not too soon after finishing the book, I impressed my fiance with my knowledge of bourbon. I also really enjoyed the scrapbook stuff like receipts, pictures and postcards sprinkled throughout.
The journey is not only physical, but metaphorical in this book. Not anything too outstanding or even different, but it does the trick. Plus it can just be plain old fun. It certainly made me want to get in my car and go.
Disclosure: I got this from my local library.