Sunday, April 29, 2012

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


Title: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Source: Bought 
Format: Hardcopy
My Rating:  
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. (taken from goodreads.com)  
Every now and then, you find a book that sticks with you. I constantly find myself looking back to this novel and relating it to events in my life and thinking about the amazing journey the characters shared. As much as I love light-hearted summer novels, I didn't adore Amy and Roger's Epic Detour because an ordinary girl got to go on a road trip with a hot guy. That was certainly a bonus, but what I truly admired about this book were the deep, piercing emotions and the beautiful process of self-discovery and healing. 

I don't want to be melodramatic by saying this book is "life-changing," but in a way, it was for me. Amy learns more this one summer than most people learn in years of experience. I can honestly say that, since I read the book, I've taken more leaps of faith and lived a bit fuller. Being a teenager isn't easy- it's as hard as hell. Learning to accept yourself takes patience and time, and you screw up a lot along the way. But this novel explains that it isn't the mistakes that matter. It's how you recover and learn from them that does.

In my opinion, the most beautiful romances blossom out of true friendships, not out of extreme passion and sudden longing. The death of Amy's father has left her broken and lifeless, and Roger is the spark she's been waiting for to reignite her desire to live and move on. Despite being strangers in the beginning, Roger and Amy quickly develop a friendship filled with inside jokes and legitimate concern for one another. I can't count the number of times I awwwed out loud at their adorable moments together. 

The novel is unusual in that it also includes pictures of the places Amy and Roger visit, along with receipts from their purchases, their iPod playlists, and notes they collect along the way. Not only were these artifacts fun to peruse between chapters, but they added to the authenticity of the story. If I didn't know better, I'd say the author took the journey herself. I actually have a playlist on my own iPod now that includes sixty of Amy and Roger's songs (too far, I know). 

I'm sure I've done a terrible job of expressing my fan-girlish love for this fantastic story, but hopefully I've convinced you to at least give it a shot. Trust me- between Roger's swoon-worthy personality and looks, the tidal wave of emotions, and the broken but lovable Amy, you won't be bored for a moment.