Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amazon Synopsis: Amy Curry is having a terrible year. Her mother has decided to move all the way across the country and needs Amy to drive their car from California to the East Coast. There's just one problem: since the death of her father, Amy hasn't been able to get behind the wheel of a car. Enter Roger, the son of an old family friend, who turns out to be unexpectedly cute...and dealing with some baggage of his own. Meeting new people and coming to terms with her father's death were not part of Amy's plans for the road trip. But then neither was driving on the Loneliest Road in America, seeing the Colorado Mountains, visiting diners, dingy motels and Graceland. But as they drive, and she grows closer to Roger, Amy finds that the people you least expected are the ones you need the most - - and that sometimes you have to get lost in order to find your way home.

Everyone seemed to be raving about this book so to see what it was all about I added it to my summer reads. It took me quite a while to finish this one, can't remember why now. Because I am in the UK I get this really cool cover which is a hand drawn design by Mary-Anne Hampton (according to my book). It is a continued theme with the back of the book being a postcard with the synopsis as the writing, the cover artist in the address box and the bar code as the stamp. This made the book look really original to me and got me really excited to read it. Also, inside each chapter starts with a quote instead of a number and there are drawings, play lists and pictures from when the author went on the road trip herself, which just add a little extra to the book.

So the premise of the story seemed pretty deep and strayed from my 'light-hearted' theme of summer reads but because of the hype I had to try it. At the beginning of the book Amy is on her own as her mother sets up their new home in Connecticut where she had become a self-induced hermit. Amy is in a state of denial since it has only been 3 months since the death of her father, which she blames herself for. In this beginning part of the book, Amy is portrayed as a girl who has lost her way. She no longer seems to care what people think, is ignoring her best friend and seems to be incredibly sarcastic. Amy has detached herself from who she was, referring to how she was in the past as "Amy!". Still there are elements of humour within the narrative and this stops the book from becoming too heavy for a contempary novel.

Roger then comes along and starts to drive them across the country. His character is something I did not expect. This is probably the first character in a contempary novel who is a overtly attractive man who falls for the geeky girl (or vice versa) despite all odds. Roger is a funny, awkward nerd who isn't afraid to show it. He seems to just fit into his features as Amy still finds him oddly attractive when they first meet.

Soon after they set off the detour begins.  Starting in Yosemite where Amy visited with her father. Here it is clear that Roger is till hung up on his ex as he tries to call her randomly in the middle of the night. With each stop, Roger's bright personality seems to be breaking down Amy's walls but it is a slow process which makes it once again an unusual experience as it means they have worked for the feelings and they don't just come out of nowhere. It is such a gradual thing that you barely see it happen.

A criticism is that it is quite slow moving plot wise but I kind of expected that.

In an attempt to keep out spoilers from this review, I will stop there. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though I did not fall in love with it the way that others have. The characters are likeable, the ending is ok and the book does what it promises.

Rating: 4/5


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