Saturday, 21 April 2012

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

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.

Ever since I read ‘The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight’ I’ve been dying to slip back into a normal romance- no werewolves, vampires or apocalypses allowed. So on a whim I picked up Amy and Roger to see how my next foray into the world minus supernatural fared.
And it was pretty good. It didn’t have the same spark for me that Statistical did, but at the same time it had fresh elements that I absolutely adored.

I wasn’t entirely fussed on Amy to start with. I think it was because it took such a while to get to know her – it was almost as Roger got to grips with her, the reader does to as she opens up more and more. Once I started to get a feel for her character though I loved her. In fact that goes for both of them. They weren’t perfect , they were flawed and broken and needed someone to help put them back together again once all of the walls came down.

I loved how cathartic some of the stops on the trip were – going to Yosemite because of the trips with her Dad, the college and Hadley’s house for Roger, but particularly and more poignantly for me was the trip to Graceland. I was actually moved to tears by some of the moments in the book – which was definitely something that I wasn’t expecting.

I really loved the extra touches that it made it feel more than just a book, and like I was really there with them on their road trip. There were receipts and signs and postcards and pictures, napkins and notes and tickets – all the little mementos that you collect on a trip and tucked in with the story to add an extra dimension to the tale.

The romance was a gradual thing that came on over the course of the book. There was no insta love, no moment of ‘I must have you now!’ and certainly no ‘well this is it for the rest of our lives.’ Which made me want to cheer! It was an accurate, down to earth portrayal of two people, two complete strangers who come to like each other as friends and over time feel something deeper. Now yes of course it’s sped up because the road trip doesn’t take weeks, but it still has that gradual feeling that makes it feel real. And when it does happen, oooo there were shivers. I loved it!

The road trip scenario was something that made the book even more special for me. I would love to buy a car and just road trip across America, so whilst most of their stops are for a cathartic purpose, some of the extra bits just made me swoon inside. I loved the setting, and it had a very real feel, as though Morgan had done this journey herself to get a feel for it. I loved being given the opportunity to go with them through this. I loved the little annotations and notes about the states that they drove through, I loved the playlists – they really gave a feel for the mood and the setting and it was such a great extra touch that really added something to the book.

I also really loved the banter. A book about two people essentially stuck in a car for several days could get monotonous, but Morgan handles it brilliantly. It’s broken up so we see bits and pieces, not the whole thing, and we see glimpses of games and moments and silly questions between the two of them that had me laughing out loud.

All in all, if you like stories minus the supernatural with some romance and humour, you’ll love this book. Also if you’re looking for something a little bit different with added touches to make it even more of a joy to read, then you definitely should read this book.

I loved it, and it’s restored my faith in books that don’t need something supernatural to still be awesome. Any suggestions for where to go next in my quest for the normal romance?


  1. I loved this book so much. I can see how it would be harder to get into if you're not a big contemp YA fan, but I'm so glad that you did enjoy it :) All that food and music made me YEARN to go on a road trip.

    1. I love some contemp romance, I just never manage to read as much of it as I'd like - it does make a nice change from the supernatural every once in a while! I agree, I desperately wanted to road trip after this one!