Friday, June 5, 2015

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

I've decided that I don't read enough contemporary, and one lovely day when I was at a bookstore decided that I'd randomly give Amy and Roger's Epic Detour a try, especially since I'd read a number of positive reviews of it over the years and it was seriously time for a summer read. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour ended up being exactly what I was looking for and exactly what I expected with a great combination of lighthearted moments and darker emotions. It's definitely not a new favorite but it served its purpose and I really enjoyed it.

Amy Curry needs to move all the way across the United States, from California to Connecticut. She and her family need to 'start over' after her father's death, which she blames herself for. Ever since the accident Amy has refused to get behind the wheel of a car, so an old friend from early childhood that she doesn't really remember, Roger, has agreed to drive her on his way to his father's home. In search for personal answers concerning Roger's last relationship and Amy's unspoken grief, they decide to take a detour, and they go from being near strangers to something much more.

Amy and Roger's time on the road leads to a lot of growth and development for both of them. This, and their budding relationship, marks the novel's best asset: The transitions are so smooth. And really, when you think about it, the book's premise sounds like insta-love just waiting to happen since Amy and Roger are essentially all alone and sometimes have to share beds, but Morgan Matson keeps it real. Plus, both characters have their flaws, but none that make them particularly unlikeable, and they meet some really nice people on their trip. That's not to say that everyone is lovely though. Amy's mother tended to bother me even though I did feel sad for her, and let's face it, no one likes Roger's ex, Hadley. The only thing that was a little strange was how willing Amy was to telling strangers about her problems before people she knew... But then again, that's also understandable.

Not everything is resolved in the end. I realize that may bother some people but it doesn't bother me; sometimes we just have to hope that everything will fictionally work out the way we want it to. However, the ending also enforces that we really never know what's going to happen. Ever. That theme prevails throughout this book, and on one side it's bleak, but it's also exciting and full of promise. You know, deep life stuff we all love. Even though there's a lot of serious drama (is that even the right word?) going on and I got a couple tears in my eyes here and there, the road trip itself is exciting and the romance is kind of fluffy.

The way Matson lays out the novel, with Amy and Roger's travel playlists and the actual photos she took when she went to all these places, made the experience really unique. I've never encountered anything quite like it, and I don't really have any major complaints with this book. I think my least favorite aspect was the writing style, but it's not that it was bad, it just didn't stand out to me. But like I said, I really enjoyed this book, and I understand the hype. It's a great summer read, and that's just what I needed.

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