Title: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 4th, 2010
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
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.
*SPOILERS MAY BE PRESENT PAST THIS POINT*
My Thoughts and Reflection:
YA contemporary has lately become infamous for lots of insta-love (a situation when characters fall in love after barely knowing each other/spending any time together). This book, however, is the perfect opposite. Matson was very sneaky about the chemistry between Amy and Roger, and kept us guessing until the very end. This was just amazing to read, because it paralleled Amy and Roger's character development perfectly.
From the blurb, we get a pretty good since that Amy's father's death is pretty raw still, but not until we start to delve into the book do we realize to what extent it's affecting her. That's why the specific places that Amy and Roger visit on their "detour" are so vital. The places that Amy requests are almost all directly related to her father, and each time that she visits she manages to heal a little more.
Roger obviously has ulterior motives (calm down, not like that) for going on the trip with Amy. His ex girlfriend isn't exactly a subject of conversation, but it's certainly an elephant in the room. As the pair near the visit with the notorious ex, it's clear to the reader that Roger's feelings may have changed, even if it isn't clear to Amy. The wonderful distraction was strategically placed at the perfect moment, and prompted Amy to really evaluate her feelings.
Amy's mother wasn't necessarily a prominent character in this novel, but she wasn't missing. Non-existent parent presence is another problem in a lot of YA books, and I'm so glad that this book didn't have that. Because of the specific circumstances that Amy and Roger were in, Amy's mom wasn't literally there, but she was always in the back of their minds; exactly like parents are in any teenagers mind. Amy's relationship with her mom was perfectly executed.
Although we never meet Amy's dad before he dies, we do get plenty of flashbacks and can get a feel of what kind of person he was. Amy's struggle to share the circumstances of her father's death is doesn't just keep Roger in the dark, but also the reader. I think that when she revealed to Roger the true way that her father died that was one of the final stages of Amy's grief. (Not to say that grief ever leaves, I just mean in the sense of a step before continuing on with life. Amy had pretty much paused her life after her father died).
The shadowy status with Amy's brother was another source of character development for Amy. She was hesitant to share about him with Roger, and when she finally does I think she starts to accept that nothing about what happened to him was her fault. The scene when she breaks into his rehab facility was one of the best because it showed how much Amy had progressed in her grief as well how freeing the acceptance was.
Overall, I think that this book was great; once of the most well written YA books out there. The playlists, receipts, and pictures were wonderful additions.
Three Words to Describe This Book:
Amazing Character Development!
I'll defiantly be interested in more by Morgan Matson.