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Amy & Roger's Epic Detour Hardcover – May 4, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—After Amy's father dies in a car crash, everything that this California girl took for granted changes overnight. Her twin brother Charlie is shipped off to rehab in North Carolina. Her mother accepts a teaching position in Connecticut, leaving Amy home alone to finish her junior year of high school. Then her mom arranges to get Amy to Connecticut via a cross-country drive with a family friend, 19-year-old Roger. The pair quickly ditches the pre-planned itinerary in favor of more spontaneous detours to Yosemite, Colorado, and Graceland. Amy's mother is predictably furious and cuts off her credit card, leaving the teens on a shoestring budget. Along the way Amy gradually opens up to Roger about her father's accident and her repressed feelings about it. During a stop in Louisville, Roger finds closure with the girl who recently dumped him, leaving him available for a relationship with Amy. The theme of her emotional journey meshes well with the realistically rendered physical journey across the U.S. Playlists, pages from a travel scrapbook, well-drawn supporting characters, and unique regional details enhance the narrative. Flashback chapters shed light on Amy's life before her father's death, without breaking the steady pacing. One sexual situation is discreetly described. Overall, this is an emotionally rewarding road novel with a satisfying, if not totally surprising, conclusion. It's similar in theme and tone to Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever (Viking, 2004).—Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA
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"The narrative keeps its momentum even through flashbacks that gradually reveal more about Amy’s family tragedy and interspersed pages from Amy’s travel scrapbook, which includes jotted state overviews, souvenir menus, and long, keenly apt music playlists that’ll send readers off to downloading. If all road trips were like this, nobody’d ever stay home."--Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books
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Top customer reviews
The thing that started this epic detour. Three months ago Amy's father was killed in a car accident. No, this is not a spoiler because it's on the book blurb. Anyway, Amy and Charlie's (brother) mother decides she's moving them from California to Connecticut to where their grandma lives. Amy's mother got a job teaching at one of the schools. Like, wow... everything you have ever known is just being taken away from you.
Amy's brother Charlie is actually in rehab in North Carolina and will join them when he gets out. Amy stayed in California by herself for the last month of school and then her mom decides it would be cheaper for her to drive the Jeep Liberty out to Connecticut. It seems it's cheaper to drive it than hire a company to bring it out. The thing is... Amy doesn't drive, not since the accident. Amy's mom sets it up to where an old childhood friend is going to drive them because he has to come up that way to Philly. Amy handles all of this better than I would have, I just would not be able to leave where I grew up all of my life and where I had all the memories of my father, but I digress.
Amy & Roger decide to take a detour and not even go the route Amy's mother had planned out for them. They each had their own places they wanted to go but some were just on a whim. I freaking loved it.
They stayed in all kinds of places. Cabins, motels, the jeep, some college friends of Roger's and they just did whatever and went to different places. Amy got to meet some really nice people along the way through Roger and some they met together. They got to find out a lot of things about each other as well. Mostly it was such a wonderful time. OMG! I want to go :-)
Or, more accurately, I ate breakfast. Roger ate the kind of meal usually reserved for holiday dinners and people with tapeworms. Luckily, it was a buffet, and all-you-can-eat, a policy I had a feeling they might be revising after our visit. As Roger came back with his third heaping plateful---this one focused on various meat groups---he raised his eyebrows at my plate. "Is that all you're eating?" he asked.
They made a few stops for Roger that involved a girl and got some things settled in that situation. Amy wanted to make a stop at Graceland because Amy, her father, and Charlie were supposed to make the trip together before he died. She thought it would be great and in a way it was but it was very sad for her. It also made me cry. She cried too.
Through out the whole book you want to know what really happened in that accident. And toward the end when Amy finally tells it all to Roger, I thought my heart was going to break. I could not STOP crying. I felt so bad hearing this and thinking about if that was my own father. The descriptions, just everything was so horrible.
There is also one point in the book that I was so disgusted with Amy's mother I wanted to punch her right in the nose. I'm not going to bring that up though. In the end, Amy found herself, even just a little bit, she found something with Roger and she found healing with her brother. And that's all that matters in the long run.
Amy Curry has had a sucky last couple of months. Her dad died, her brother went to rehab, and her mother is selling their house and has already moved to Connecticut, leaving her alone in California for a month. Her mom arranges for her to drive across the country with a family friend (Roger) and meet her in Connecticut. Of course, the itinerary planned stops in the most boring places possible. The highlight of the planned trip was Tulsa. Amy and Roger decide to take a little detour and hit some more exciting places. This road trip story is a story of adventure, discovery, coming together, love and healing.
Who doesn’t love a good road trip story? I feel like in road trips, you feel so removed from the real world that things happen that wouldn’t normally occur. Plus, being with someone 24/7 is such a great way to get to know them and who they really are. Amy and Roger really adventure outside of their comfort zones, and I think the best part is how throughout their road trip you can see the tension between them slowly melting and see them become comfortable with each other.
Amy honestly broke my heart. She’s just so sweet for such a tragic thing to happen to. Even her name is sweet sounding. As always, Morgan Matson does an amazing job of developing her characters, so we learn that Amy loves musicals and Elvis and diners and loves strongly. To watch her struggle with her grief, and ultimately become happy and heal had me bawling my eyes out.
Roger is no less amazing. He’s a slightly nerdy college guy, loves explorers, making playlists, is still hung up on a college ex, and passionately hates saying goodbye. He is just a really understanding character, seeming to sense when to push Amy and when to let it go. He has a goofy, positive attitude that makes road trips so much more fun.
Together, they just mesh. Roger’s the explorer, and Amy’s the navigator, and both of them would be lost without the other. Their falling in love was totally unexpected and unplanned, just chance that they happened to take a detour and learn a lot more about each other.
“The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren’t looking for them. Columbus and America. Pinzón, who stumbled on Brazil while looking for the West Indies. Stanley happening on Victoria Falls. And you. Amy Curry, when I was least expecting her.” (Roger)
Another great aspect of the book is the family. Matson always features broken families who learn to mend. Amy’s mom seriously annoyed me in the beginning, but during the novel we get to see a different side of her as Amy starts to realize that she isn’t the only one suffering. Her mom lost her husband, and her son has an addiction problem. And even though she is really strict with Amy, you can tell it’s out of love. I also love Charlie, Amy’s brother. Through flashbacks, we can see him go from the intellectual, athletic, party loving little boy to a boy who was lost without his father. It was clear that Amy cared about him, and you knew that deep down he cared about her too, but was just too lost to recognize it. One of the sweetest parts of the book is when Amy and Charlie finally talk in person about what happened.
One of my favorite parts of the book is how Matson includes their playlists (which features cheesy and goofy titles), and how she includes snapshots of Amy’s travel diary, so as readers we can actually imagine what it looks like, and see the random things about a person, like their handwriting.
From Yosemite, for Amy to relive some of her families old trips, to Colorado, to visit Roger’s college, to Graceland, where it finally hits Amy, this trip is just as much about moving on as it about falling in love. For Roger to move on from Hadley, and for Amy to let go of her guilt and move on from her father. And it’s great to see both of their little steps to heal, and how they open up to each other.
The only slight negative about this book is the ending. There was still so much left I wanted to know. I wanted to know what happens between Amy and Julia, and Amy and her mom, and Amy and Roger. But I also respect the ending, because in a way the non-concrete ending reflects the whole “no saying goodbye” theme that has floated around the novel.
Read my full review here: fictionalboyfriends123.wordpress.com
The story was cute and hilarious but Amy & Roger didn't have the IT factor. I didn't really believe their attraction for each each other. To me, they were better off as friends.
I wasn't really a fan of Amy but Roger's story was definitely more entertaining to follow.
What really got on my nerves was that every state Amy went to, there was always somebody into her. I found it really heard to believe that every male she met would be attracted to her. It was too out there and I didn't enjoy it for one second.
What I did love more than anything, was the format. There were receipts, postcards, and much more included throughout the story. It made the road trip seem as real as possible and it had me itching to go to one of my own. All in all, I will still give Matson another chance in the future.
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