March 31, 2014

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

Feature created by Amber and Judith, Graphic created by Judith
So Lisa and I picked books for each other at the beginning of this month and, now, at the end of this month, we present you with our thoughts on the books we Epically Rec'd to each other. To check out Lisa's thoughts on my pick for her (Also Known As by Robin Benway), click HERE.

Title: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 4th, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Page Count: 352
Source: Purchased
First Reaction: I've never wanted to go on a road trip and eat lots of burgers more in life.
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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

After Amy's father dies and her brother is sent to rehab, Amy's mom moves what's left of the family from California to Connecticut just in time for Amy's senior year. While her mom goes on ahead, Amy is left to drive the family car cross-country. Since Amy doesn't drive anymore, an old family friend, Roger, who is going to stay at his father's in Philly for the summer, is sent with her. But Amy and Roger don't take the route Amy's mom maps out. Instead they take an epic detour that changes everything.

ROAD. TRIP. Dudes. I love Road Trips. I love driving. I love adventure. I just... please put me behind the wheels of a car and tell me to go and I will. (All of this being said, the farthest I've driven is New York to Boston, which is about 4 hours but I want to go farther than that, please.) Anyway, I loved all of the stops Amy and Roger took. Yosemite, Kentucky, Colorado, the Loneliest Road... please can I go to more places with this adorable pair. Please. 

Oof. Just... oof. Obviously we know from the outset that Amy's dad died and now she's leaving the only home she's ever known. That's the main bit of the book and it's pretty freaking serious. There's also a lot of drama with her mom and her twin brother that really just guts you and makes you mad and sad all over for Amy. And then there's Roger, who obviously couldn't be the perfectly well adjusted kid to Amy's disfunction. He's got his own stuff going on and, while his stuff's not as intense as Amy's stuff, I like that he's given the time he needs to work himself out. This book isn't all about Amy but it also doesn't lose focus of Amy and that compromise is part of what makes the book fantastic.

I guess the whole "Amy's brother situation" was kind of a twist. And I also liked when Amy was all like "enough of this rule following, we are taking this detour. That was pretty badass. But, all in all, there wasn't so much sneakiness in this book. The story isn't about and doesn't really have OMG WTF moments. It's more about what both Amy and Roger go through and how they change throughout. And, I have to say, they both go through and change a lot. In a really well developed fashion that makes my insides squeal.

SWOONS. SA-WOONS. SUPER SA-WOONS. Oh Amy and Roger. Oh. I loved how they started off on totally separate pages. Amy wouldn't even look him in the eye. And then they start driving and you're only a little aware of the moment when things shift and all the sudden they're falling into each other in the most perfect way possible. I love the support they lent one another, they way they became familiar with the other's likes and dislikes in such a short period of time. I love how aware they were of each other and how they just fit together and move around each other like they were born to do just that... gosh, I'm sighing even as I type all of this.

Lisa had a couple of questions for me once I finished the book. Check them out!

1. Of all the songs Amy & Roger listened to, which was your favorite?
The First Single (You Know Me) by The Format, hands down. I'm familiar with a bunch of those artists and back in High School, when I went to tons of concerts, I think I saw the Hush Sound open for 4 or 5 different bands, but The First Single was the only song I started to sing as I read. And then would randomly think about as I continued reading. It's. So. Good. (And did you know the lead singer of fun. and the lead singer of The Format are THE SAME GUY? Yeah. Now you do.)

2. If you could go any of the places or eat any of the things with Amy & Roger, where or what would it be?
I'd wanna go to Yosemite. The whole time they were there I was thinking that would be a great vacation. And I'm not really an outdoors-y person, so Morgan Matson clearly made it sound really good. 

3. Amy met all sorts of helpful people along the way with Roger. If she met you, what would you two do together and what sort of life advice would you impart?
I think I'd take Amy to my favorite diner. Or maybe I'd show her Broadway (y'know, because I live in NYC and she loves musical). I'd tell her when really there are some really good people in your life, you should hold onto them. Even if it's hard, you need to put in the effort because if they're willing to reach out and try, they care and people who care are really hard to come by. (This is mostly in regards to her BFF, Julia, but also her Mom. Who she literally stops communicating with because it's too hard for both of them and I'm sure they sort it out later, but I kind of wish she'd learned that lesson more clearly on the road.)
Dudes. Lisa and I are clearly bookish soulmates. As such, I insist you go read her review of Also Known As by Robin Benway (AKA the book I recommended her this month) (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?). Also, you should consider signing up for Epic Recs yourself. Who knows? Maybe you'll be partnered with your bookish soulmate too! 

I think I'm the last person to take this road trip with Amy and Roger. If I'm not, and it's actually you, let me know in the comments below. If I am and you've already read it, let's freak out about how much we love Roger, also in the comments below.