Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Review: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (US)
Format: Hardcover
Released: May 4th, 2010
Grade rating: A

Amazon 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.


I've never wanted to go on a road trip across the US as much as I do now, and it's all thanks to reading Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. I want to jump in a clapped out old car (with Carla from The Crooked Shelf), stock up on tasty American treats and drive for 8 hours down Route 50 in Nevada, aka. The Loneliest Road in America. I want to go to the Dairy Queen for an ice cream, and then I want to sleep in my car in front of a Walmart. It might not sound like the most enjoyable experience ever, but it would be. I just know it.

Besides a newfound enthusiasm for road tripping, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour has also left me with a love for two more fictional characters. Amy is coming to terms with her father's death 3 months previously, which in itself is reason enough to make me cry. I sympathised with her completely, and wanted more than anything for her to be okay. Family friend Roger is her loyal road trip companion, who is also dealing with some problems of his own. They connect instantly, and it's so cool to see their friendship unfolding. I originally thought Amy and Roger would have a big intense romance, but that's not the focus here at all - it's about friendship, grieving and learning to live again.

Morgan Matson is a bit of a genius in my mind. Not only does she include actual pictures of Amy & Roger's trip, but she also includes images of receipts, flyers and some seriously kick-ass music playlists (Roger, I love your taste in tunes. Will you marry me?). They include Snow Patrol. And Jack's Mannequin. What's better than that?

When not living in the US, it can be hard to imagine what things look like, or where landmarks are, and that's why I loved the added features in this book. When I wanted to see roads or hotels, I could see them there on the page in black and white. It added a lot to the story, and made me feel like I was in a car with Amy and Roger, driving from one place to the next. It's an eye-opening, realistic adventure to disappear into.

Aside from the section at Roger's college dragging a little bit, I don't really have anything bad to say about this epic detour. Amy's journey will break your heart and mend it all over again, while Roger will make you wish you knew someone just like him. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour is a fantastic debut novel from a promising talent, and I can't wait to see what music-loving-Matson writes next.


Sarah said...

Excellent, excellent review!! I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed the book and that it painted a picture of a road trip across the US for you. :D

The Book Owl said...

I'm glad you enjyoed this so much! Now I can't wait to pick it up. I like the added aspect of photos and the like - what a good idea.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I really want to read this one. I need to head to the bookstore WITH ENOUGH MONEY next time and pick this up. I love that the author added playlists and photos. It's such a fun, unique way to really put readers inside the story. And I'm glad it's not this big romance. Sometimes it's nice to just have it be more about friendship and getting to know each other than a true love story.


the epic rat said...

This sounds amazing! With the right people, road trips can be super-fun. The additional "road trip" memorabilia is really cool touch, and I can't wait to go and get myself a copy now :)

Michelle said...

Sigh, I think I've read every review for this novel in the blogging world and am torturing myself by doing so. My local bookstores never have this one in stalk and it's killing me. I want to read it SOOO badly! It sounds beyond epic.

Lauren said...

This sounds so good! It's already on my wishlist to get as soon as my TBR shrinks, but now I'm majorly craving it. Especially getting to see pictures and read the playlists. And maybe listen to the playlists myself... awesome.

Although I can't imagine any book would make me want to sleep in my car in front of Walmart. Now K-Mart, maybe...

Rhiana said...

I'd love to to do a road trip across the US, and I really want to read this book! It sounds fantastic. I love the fat it has pictures and stuff in. Great review!

Becky said...

I love that this has visuals to add to the story. I confess that the idea of a road trip is probably my worst nightmare. I hate being in the car for long journeys. I get bored. I moan. I am very childlike. But I still think this sounds good. I am starting to notice that books around Summer (of which I think this fits) have the recurring theme of grief and loss.

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

This made me want to go on a road trip, too. *Sigh* I loved it so much!

Lori said...

I LOVED this book! It's one of my favorites of the year! I loved all the fast food stops! Especially when they closer to my area! Sonic Drive-In was my first job!

Great review!

Caroline said...

I so feel like a road trip now!!!
Amazing review, I had never heard of this book before and now I want to read it :)
I like when books are not only words and have some pictures inside (when they're not graphic novels themselves, that is!)
I have been on a road trip from California to Nevada, there is indeed nothing to do and nothing to see on the road, but the experience is fun!!!
I was thrilled to see on Saturday and hopefully we'll have more time to talk next time!!
Have a lovely week!
x Caroline

Liz. R said...

I really want to read this! Every review I've read for it has been a positive one.

I've awarded you The Versatile Blogger award if you want to check it out: http://planet-print.blogspot.com/2010/08/my-first-award.html

Hope you're having a great day!

Steph Su said...

I'm with Liz R. up there. This was one of those cases where the cover and synopsis did not work for me at all, but the more I hear about it, the better it sounds. I think I may have to end up buying this or something soon!

Clover said...

I love a good road trip book, and this one looks especially good! Thanks for the review :)

Sophie Atkins said...

Great review for this book! How I wish I have my own car from ford dealers on long island, I want to go on a road trip this coming weekend!