Book of the Week-Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Hey guys! How’s everyone’s week so far? I hope its good. Everything is going pretty well over here in WhatANerdGirlSays corner! Its nice and sunny and beautiful in California right now and I hope that means summer is nearing because I am SO ready for it! So many exciting things to look forward to this summer.

So today is the Book of the Week, and I haven’t read anything NEW this week. I re-read Divergent because I was a little bit on a Divergent high from meeting Veronica Roth and I’m giving away a signed copy of Divergent, so I was rereading that. Now, I’m in the middle of re-reading Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and I remembered again, what a great book this is and what a great summer read it is too.

And with the sun shining and summer quickly approaching, what better a book to pick for this week’s review.

And I’ll be seeing Morgan Matson at a couple events this month!

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

young adult, contemporary

Part of a Series?:

You May Like if You Liked:
anything by Sarah Dessen

Plot Summary:

An ALA Top Ten Pick for Young Readers Winner :) 

Amy Curry’s dad has just died, in a car accident, and no one wants to talk about her, especially her. Her brother pushes himself further into partying and drugs and ends up in rehab. Her mom picks up everything they have and moves them to Connecticut, from California. Amy is allowed to finish her school year but then she must come join her mom in their new home. There’s a catch though; they need their car and the only way to get it is to drive it all the way across the country. Amy isn’t driving anymore, not since her dad’s death, so the son of her mom’s friend, Roger, is picked for the job, and they embark on a cross country trip.

Quickly, the two of them ditch the itinerary provided by Amy’s mother, and start picking their own destinations. Both of them are on a mission: Amy is avoiding her past and Roger keeps holding onto his. As they travel across the country, Amy becomes more and more able to deal with her past, to talk about it and to talk to others about. Roger is able to face his past head on and let it go. And they two of them have fun adventures, listen to great music and become friends along the way.

The Bad:

I don’t say this often about a book. Usually there’s always something, even if its just a little something. But there’s nothing about this book that I don’t like. I picked up this book on a whim. I needed something new to read, and it was on the shelf next to Sarah Dessen, who is one of my absolute favorite authors, and decided to buy it. And probably consumed it in a couple hours. Its just so good. There’s nothing bad, in my opinion, about this book.

The Good:

Okay, one, its the perfect summer read. It just breathes summer. And its such a perfect book to read right now, with summer coming. Who hasn’t, in their entire life, wanted to go on a road trip? I can’t think of anyone who turn down an adventure like that. I know that I always wanted to do one; I still hope that one day I will be able to do a road trip. I had always planned my whole life to do one with my best friends but…circumstances changed and we were never able to. But one day, I’ll convince my boyfriend that we need to have an Amy and Roger type road trip :) I think he’d like that.

I like that so much of the road trip, the places that Roger and Amy eat at, the hotels they stay at, etc. are real places. It almost makes you want to map out a road trip, following their route as they hit these different spots. Except maybe not the Loneliest Highway…I could totally go without traveling that way haha. But I love all the different restaurant references too. I love food and I love going and trying good places when I go to places I’ve never been before so I really liked that there was so much authenticity and care when writing this book. She just didn’t make it up, you know? She lived it!

I also really, really, really like Amy and Roger. They are both such real characters and you really get to know them as you read the book. They are really the only two characters in the book. Sure, wherever they go, they meet new people or see friends of Roger’s or meet Amy’s twin brother but the focus is on the two of them and the sort of physical and emotional journey that they go through together. And there’s nothing about it that seems forced. You don’t spend the entire book wondering if they’re going to “get together”; you just watch as they become friends, as Amy deals with her father’s death and Roger deals with a hard break up. Honestly, the entire book I was really rooting for their friendship because both of them needed a friend super badly. You root for them the entire way because they’re so real and familiar that they could be your own best friend.

Oh, and Roger’s obsession with history and explorers and Amy’s obsession with musicals. Again, something that makes them real. I think authors often times, and this includes myself…we forget that these people need to be real. We get so obsessed with our characters and what they are doing inside the story that we forget that they exist outside the story too. We forget that they existed before page one and continue to exist after the last page and so we don’t always build those strong, lasting personalities. I can picture Amy in school musicals, or dancing around her room, listening to Rent or Wicked or whatever. I can picture Roger bent over a textbook, reading about Magellan or Vasco de Gama. Just further work that Matson did to make these characters memorable.

I love the other characters that pop up as Roger and Amy make their trip. I liked meeting Bron and Leonard at Colorado College, and Drew and Walcott in Kansas, and just the smaller people in between. Its just a great road trip story. Road trips are often told as a double journey. There’s the actual physical journey that they take, and then there’s the internal journey as well, whether its mental or emotional or whatever. And Matson nails that so well. You can see as Roger and Amy hit each stop, and meet new people or rehash with people they already knew, that they are changing. Its very subtle though, not cheesy, not cliche. Its a build up of change and when the changing occurs, its slow and not in your face obvious. Its very subtle which makes it that much more of an enjoyable read.

Lastly, I like the kind of scrapbook feel that she gives to it. There’s receipts from places, photos, brochures, etc. It really lends more to the road trip feel, like you are there in the car with them, experiencing this at the same time. I also really love the road trip playlists because they are little hints at maybe what the author listened to when she went on the road trip, or what inspired her, or why she wrote about different places, etc. Most authors release book playlists, a list of songs that they listened to while they wrote that particular book but I like this better. More authentic :) And the songs were always a nice little mix of what I like to listen to and what my boyfriend likes to listen to so that always made me laugh to see one of my favorite bands on the same mix as one of his. Those were really fun. In the beginning, they’re all Roger’s playlists too, and as Amy comes more out of her shell, and starts sharing her own music, she has playlists as well, which runs nicely along with the story. Brilliant.


5 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not? 

Definitely. Go out and pick it up now. You really won’t regret. Stick it in that beach bag and soak in the rays while reading this perfect summer novel. I also definitely recommend her second novel, Second Chance Summer, if you’re looking for a good summer read.

Morgan Matson will be on tour this month, for the Summer Lovin’ Tour, with fellow YA authors, Jenny Han and Jessi Kirby. Hopefully its in a city near you!

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