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

10:50 PM

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Title: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: May 4 2010
Hardcover: 352 pages
Rating: 5/5 stars

I love road trip books and I think this one is my ultimate favorite. I had a smile on my face the whole time I read this book, and I couldn't put it down at all - not even to study for a quiz (I know, priorities haha). I've read a lot of bad YA contemporaries lately and I was a bit hesitant to pick this up. However, all the dashing reviews of this book from so many friends gave me the extra push to start it.

You see, I had a reading slump. I was looking for a book that would get me OUT of my reading slump, and so many people recommended this to me. My expectations of this book was that it would be cute but pretty much be just that. It turned out to be so much more and I was definitely impressed at the great work when it came to the plot pacing, the writing style and of course the character formation and development.

Amy is the protagonist of this story. Her life pretty much sucks - her father has just died from a car crash, her brother's in rehab, her mother decides they move from California to Connecticut and now she has to ride cross-country to join her mother in their new life. Accompanying her on this roadtrip is Roger, a childhood friend she hasn't seen in years, so naturally Amy is not at all thrilled, considering she had just spent the last 3 months shutting people out, even her best friend Julia. The book is told from the point of view of Amy, along with a bunch of scraps they gathered from the road - including post cards, pictures, receipts, napkins, playlists and so many other cool stuff.

The narrative is so well-written and the interludes between chapters were a great addition to the book. I usually don't like chapter in-betweeners, but the book would have been very different and incomplete without those cute nothings in between. This was a creative decision of the author which I really approve of, as without these the story would not have been the same. They bring bits of development into the story, and establishes the mood and theme of the setting. But what I commend the most about Amy and Roger is how well-crafted the characters are, all of them, even the people they meet on the road who only appeares for a few pages.

Amy has such a distinct voice, simply because she seems like a regular teenage girl. She isn't funny, witty, or crazy and definitely not a "not like other girls" type. But what makes her very likeable as a narrator and as the main character of the story is how realistically she is portrayed. Her problems are not overly dramatized, but also not totally ignored. Her reactions to situations and events in the book are pretty normal and very relatable, things I have done and would do as well if in the position.  The way she worries about spending 4 days with Roger a guy she barely knows is a worry that every other teenager out there gets. The way she freaks out over sharing the same bed with Roger and making sure to wear long sleeves just to cover herself up is something I would have done in the situation myself. I like how real Amy is portrayed and I just love how she finds herself thinking of Roger in a different way, but trying to ignore and forget it. Her growth as a person clearly shines in the book, in a way which I found refreshing and inspiring. The part where she finally builds the courage to start driving again was just phenomenal because she figures it out herself, and pushes herself without needing the help of Roger. Roger is also a fantastic character. He is not characterized to be one of those dreamy out of this world guys who seem to be so well-versed, but he is definitely real. He is described to be good looking, but there is much more to him than that. He has his own issues, and he and Amy both come to terms with these problems in their own terms. It is independent and strong willed characters like these that I like the most when reading books. Their romance is a bit slow-placed, but this I do not mind, as I am not a fan of whirlwind romances, and it makes the story more realistic. I love how there is no instant love, and that they develop from awkward strangers to close friends who bond over music and have inside jokes and then to two people who love and care deeply about each other. I also love how Amy is the one who kisses Roger first; it shows her growth as a person.

This is also the book with the best group of secondary characters ever. They don't exist as mere plot points or stopovers along the way. They all have their own personalities and contribute to the plot immensely. Bronwyn is such a cute and lovable character who gives Amy all her clothes to help her break out of her shell and become more confident. She might've been there just for a while but she certainly impacted the characters and the story in so many ways. Drew gives Roger the best advice "There sometimes isn't' much of a difference between a knight's quest and a fool's errand". This, I think, is the part where Roger finally realizes what he is doing with his life, and his own coming to terms with his problems. Leonard, the video game geek, is my favorite of them and I love his "Save Princess Amy!" bit, definitely aww-worthy. Lucien - how could I forget Lucien? He gives both Amy and Roger the push to come to terms with their own dark pasts and dilemmas, and is probably the one that helps them the most.

I can go on and on with this book forever. I adore this book SO much I just can't shut up about it. I love Amy and Roger's Ten Questions game, their roadtrip playlists, their Hillary and Edmund inside jokes, the places they visit like Graceland with the graffiti on the wall, the fastfood places they eat at, and all the mention of Elvis! Now I wanna go on an epic detour, and I'd love to visit all the places they went to in this book. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is a wonderful book of self-discovery, young love,  and detours that change your life forever.

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8 comments

  1. May I ask what an interlude is?

    This sounds like a great book! I love roadtrips! The whole idea seems a little unrealistic to be completely honest, but the way it's written can help a lot. Amy seems like a great female lead!

    Great post (as always) xx

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    1. An interlude is basically an intermission of all sorts. :)

      YES! It is a great book! You should read it! :D

      Thanks for stopping by :)

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  2. I have so much love for this book; it's my go-to road trip book I want crumbly burgers and to decapitate hedge animals and have Roger in my bed at Yosemite! Haha.

    It's just amazing and I love the roadtrip notes and pictures and songs and ahh <3 so much effort went into it, you can tell

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    1. Decapitate hedge animals! Haha made me crack up

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  3. I love road trip books too! And this one has been on my tbr for far too long, I really should pick it up one of these days. And yay, I'm glad you managed to break out of your reading slumps with the help of Amy&Roger :)
    Aww, playlists!! <3 And I love when secondary characters are CHARACTERS too. Great review!!

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    1. Yeah! The playlists were really one of the highlights of this book <3 Yes, I'm so glad I finally got out of my reading slump. Thanks for stopping by :D

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  4. I absolutely loved this book too when I read it. I assumed it would be just a cute read as well but it was so much more. I haven't reread it and I really need to do that soon because I loved this book so much when I read it. Happy to see you loved it so much, great review! :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I really want to reread it soon too :)

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