Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Review + Contest/Tour Stop: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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.

A zealous blend of angst and fun, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is an involved tale of two teens branching out on their own. With seamless transitions between decisions and clear motivations, this book puts the reader right in the car with these two as they travel across the country. What begins as a trip neither wants to take shifts into something friendly and enjoyable before either can recognize the transition.

Lost in a state of despair resulting from the loss of her father, the displacement of her brother and a moved forced by her mother, Amy avoids people as much as possible. Used to her life of solitude for the past month while her mother is already across the country in Connecticut , Amy finds herself wondering how she is supposed to handle 4 days in a car with a boy she played with as a kid but barely remembers. The initial character we meet is a highly sympathetic one, struggling with burdens coming from multiple directions. Guilt wracks her powerfully, the causes of which are slowly unfolded to the reader in a way that allows them to piece together a timeline of events that have led to her current mental state.

Roger, on the other hand, is harboring his own despair but from a different source than Amy’s and his overall state of being is carefree and easy. He is likable from the start and though Amy notices immediately he is attractive, it isn’t something she harbors on or spends hours thinking about. He’s attractive but he’s still stuck driving her across the country to her soon to be new home, leaving everything she’s ever known behind in California.

Though their route is mapped out, the pair decide to make the trip their own.
The trip across the country is an incredibly engaging one, written with beautifully crafted imagery to let the reader know what they see, encounter, and how they handle everything. From Yosemite to Kentucky and up to Philly, a wide range of stops come up. Though hours are spent in the car, the pace rarely drags. Long stretches of time can be boring but Matson keeps things entertaining as Amy and Roger get to know each other- as well as slowly tell their darker stories.

This is, overall, a light and airy read with a fantastic amount of local culture thrown in with each stop. From Derby transitions in Kentucky to the In-N-Out franchise of the west coast along with Chic-Fil-A and Krystal on the mid and eastern states, there is a bit of learning that can happen for any reader along with an appreciation for what they know as standard while is completely foreign to someone not from the region. How much thought went into what the pair encountered, where they dined, and the hotels they stayed at helped bring this book to life. The cities, towns, and interstates traveled were as much a part of the story as the interactions between Amy and Roger.

Although this is a teenage girl and a soon to be sophomore college boy, romance and physical attraction are not a high priority. The entire book is not a lust fest although there are several humorous, very teenage, awkward moments that arise. On the flip side, however, it is certainly logical the pair grows closer and more attuned to each other as their adventure progresses and Matson has blended the aspects beautifully. The character growth and development for Amy is phenomenal and written so smoothly, the reader won’t immediately realize some of the leaps made until Amy herself recognizes them. It is a very realistic portrayal of what a road trip like that can do to someone.

Overall, this is a great read with a bold mix of angst and drama interspersed with lightheartedness and fun. The stops and route chosen pull the reader along for the ride, making them feel as though they are right beside the pair. A wide range of people are encountered, each with their own lasting effect on Amy. She is a character with a ride range of facets, holding a few different sides that come out at variable times but each one distinct and understandable as she tries to come to terms with everything.

Quotes About the Book
“This is an incredible book—heartbreakingly funny and utterly un-put-down-able.”
—Lauren Myracle, New York Times Bestselling author of Thirteen and TTYL

"One of the most touching, irresistible, and feel-good road trips I've been on in a long, long while. AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR is a book to love."
—Deb Caletti, author of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart; The Queen of Everything; The Nature of Jade, and more!

About the Author:
Morgan Matson received her MFA in Writing for Children from the New School. A road-trip veteran, she has driven cross-country three far. She currently lives in Venice, California. Follow Morgan on Twitter at @morgan_m.

Want your chance to win a copy of Amy and Roger's Epic Detour + A $10 Starbucks giftcard? Fill out this form. US mailing addresses only. Contest ends June 7.

FTC disclaimer: This book was received free of charge in support of this promotion for review.


  1. Fun, fun, Fun! : )
    Thanks for the giveaway. This book sounds amazing.

  2. I am so excited about the reviews for this, I just picked it up yesterday and I am even more excited to read it! :)

  3. Sounds awesome, love the review! Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. Oooo. This sounds like an enjoyable read!! I'll definitely have to add it to my reading list.

  5. This book sounds really great! Thanks for the giveaway :) I would love to read this.

  6. Don't enter me, but I advise EVERYONE to read this book. It is fantastic!!

  7. Wow! Thanks for the great giveaway! This book sounds wonderful and, of course, coffee and books are the best prizes ever.


  8. This book sounds so fantastic! Thanks for the review. I feel like it would be a fabulous summer read. And I love that it's culture-filled too. That makes the story seem more real.

  9. Sounds like a great read!


  10. I want to read this one! Thanks for the opportunity :)

  11. This book looks great! I found you through Kiersten White's blog (did you know she mentions you?)

    Thanks for the contest!


  12. Another book to add to the TBR list!