Book reviews

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Source: Simon and Schuster Australia (THANK YOU)
343 pages

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way

This book is not about the romance. It’s about overcoming loss and starting over. Both characters have experienced loss, Amy, her dad and Roger, his girlfriend. And this book is about confronting both of them through this road trip and tying up the loose ends.
I enjoyed this book because it was realistic. It wasn’t a novel that jumped and only concentrated at the romance but it sent a message that before starting relationship, they both had to overcome their pain.

My rating: 92%

Spoilers

I enjoyed this book because I love road trips! Its hard to write a book that’s mostly set in a car and Matson did it well. There are short paragraphs that have snippets of their conversations which are normally games of 20 questions and can I say, I had no idea who those explorers were (except for Amelia Earhart).
Amy and Roger’s relationship was painfully awkward, it didn’t have that “zing” that most characters have in other novels but this one was set apart because both their losses stood in the way of having a normal, easy going relationship and it took the majority of the book to finally get them out of the way. But I wanted more funny banter between them.

The flashback chapters brought tears to my eyes. Her relationship with her dad was a unique one where they had these habitual things like passing life-savers and listening to Elvis and as a result of his death, Amy avoids all these things; Elvis, driving and sunglasses. I felt her loss and I loved how Matson compared the Amy, then to the Amy, now. We were able to see the difference her dad’s death did. At the same time, we see her relationship with her twin brother slowly drift apart during the flashbacks. As they grow, Charlie begins to drift to the world of drugs and staying out late and no matter, how much Amy threatens to tell their parents, they both know she won’t.
That scene when she sneaks into her brother’s rehab centre and talks to him was definitely a highlight for me. It was a way for them to finally start over and realise that both of them had done mistakes and with each other, they could be a proper family, again. That hug was tear-jerking!
Amy refuses to drive because she was driving when her dad died. That was devastating and in a way we could understand, why she blamed herself but when we finally discover that it wasn’t, we could still empathize with her. And I loved the way that both Lucien and Roger supported her through it and she finally did get behind the wheel, jumping over that hurdle. I shipped Amy and Lucien for those chapter because I felt they had a better relationship than with Roger in those short pages.

Roger’s turn.
Roger reminded me of a cute, lovesick puppy.
I cringed every time he asked or called Hadley. She was obviously those players who dumped her boyfriends like they were nothing. What I really wanted was a paragraph from Roger’s POV of his confrontation with Hadley. I really wanted to know exactly what happened there, we only got to see Hadley storming out and them talking. But I guess, it would’ve been out of place, the whole book from Amy’s POV them smack bam, Roger’s.
I was happy when Roger finally realised that what he felt for her was infatuation rather than love and that adorable kiss between Roger and Amy was like this huge weight being lifted and me going YES! They did it!

I enjoyed this book and I really loved the illustrations and writing from Amy’s travel journal in between the pages. Those were amazing. I love it when authors incorporate some drawings or in case, doodling in the book somehow.

I guess what dropped down in this book was the writing and pace of the story. I would’ve liked an underlying building up of Roger’s and Amy’s friendship instead of staying pretty stagnant. Then in the last coupe of pages, all the romance exploded in our faces, going THERE YOU GO. It was like one minute they were shy friends and the next, they were BAM! together.

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