Review: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan Matson

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Title: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Source/Format: Library / Hardcover, 344 pages
Opening Sentence: “I sat on the front steps of my house and watched the beige Subaru station wagon swing too quickly around the cul-de-sac.”
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon

Amy Curry is having a terrible year. Her mother has decided to move across the country and needs Amy to get their car from California to Connecticut. There’s just one small problem: Since her dad died this past spring, Amy hasn’t been able to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger, the nineteen-year-old 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 what Amy had planned on this trip. And traveling the Loneliest Road in America, seeing the Colorado mountains, crossing the Kansas plains, and visiting diners, dingy motels, and Graceland were definitely not on the itinerary. But as they drive, Amy finds that the people you least expected are the ones you may need the most–and that sometimes you have to get lost in order to find your way home.

I am so over travel books. Kind of. I mean, a little bit. I don’t know, because I thought I was tired of travel/road trip books, and then I read and really liked Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Now I’m all confused. The only thing I know for sure is this book was totally worth the read, even if it is a road trip book.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is such a sweet contemporary novel. I didn’t want to use the word “sweet” because it makes it sound all sunshine and daisies when it’s not, but it’s a fitting word anyway. There was a great balance between drama and fun in this book. The story wasn’t too heavy or too light and it was always engaging.

Generally as travel stories go I always feel like there’s too much happening too fast, especially people falling in love at first sight (left and right, I tell you!). I didn’t get that from Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. Obviously it’s a road trip story, so there’s a lot happening, but it still took its time. The writing was great. Matson didn’t linger on any one place or event for longer than necessary to the plot. I do feel like sometimes Amy and Roger had it a little too easy with all the random strangers and old friends they ran into, but honestly, it’s not even an issue. I don’t feel like it swayed the plot’s integrity or my like of the story at all.

Matson really put a spotlight on comparing/contrasting the difficulty of talking to a loved one and the ease of baring your heart to a complete stranger. Such was Amy’s struggle throughout the book.  Amy had a lot of guilt on her shoulders and was depressed at the beginning and during a lot of the story. I am so, so, so grateful to Matson for how she played that off. Instead of making Amy overly whiney and “Oh, I’m having fun. I need to be miserable again!” Amy realized when she was feeling better or having a good time and went with it. I feel like it made Amy so much more relatable, because we always have those times we feel like we deserve to be sad but also want to be happy again. Amy was torn in that way and it made her all the more authentic.

Roger was a decent character to follow as well. I’ll be honest, he was a bit stalker-y… but I totally understand his reasoning and need for answers. In the end, he was good for Amy and helped her heal, and Amy helped him move on too. Woo hoo, everyone is happy(ish)! Okay, maybe they aren’t happy per se, but they’re definitely getting there.

And, as always, I found myself missing the “lesser” characters. Amy and Roger crossed paths with a lot of people and, aside from a select few, I loved them all. Matson is really good at writing great characters. I want so many spin-off books starring the minor characters from this book it’s not even funny.

All in all, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was a highly enjoyable read and is perfect for when you don’t want to dip too far on either side of the emotional scale. It’s a Must Read if you’re into contemporary. I am definitely looking forward to reading more by Morgan Matson.

Rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars

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