Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Review: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (US)
Released: May 4th, 2010
Grade rating: A
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.