Sunday, October 10, 2010
Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Amy’s father’s recent death in a car accident has left Amy retreating into herself. The problem comes when she needs to join her mother in their new home on the other side of the country. Enter Roger, a slightly older family friend who also needs to make his way across the country.
As the two near strangers embark on an epic road trip, throwing Amy’s mother’s strict driving directions out the window and instead going where they want, working through Amy’s grief and Roger’s hang-up over an ex-girlfriend, they learn that healing may not be so far off after all…even if it does take a cross-country road trip to attain it.
AMY AND ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR is a multiformat delight of a road trip read that will sweep you into these two teenagers’ stories.
Morgan Matson’s writing is easy to read, fluid but not floral, emotional without melodramatics. There is huge potential for dramatics in the premise—a death, an ex-girlfriend, a heterosexual boy and girl stuck in a tiny car for days on end—but thankfully descriptions are curtailed, emotions carefully doled out…and all the more effective as a result.
Amy and Roger, while lacking in particularly definable characteristics or quirks that make them stand out in the genre, have one major quality going for them: their relationship is gradual, slowly strained, one of growing attraction, not the “insta-luv” formula we typically get. If you’re looking for a real YA contemporary romance, one that gives the characters clashing histories and emotional obstacles instead of claiming to bring them together at the first look, you need to check this book out.
Finally, AMY AND ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR provides a pleasant reading experience with its playlists, scrapbook-style layouts of pictures, and handwritten notes and doodles. These elements add to the realistic element of the story: you are made to feel as if Amy and Roger’s road trip actually took place, and you can enjoy their journey as much as possible by adding in the musical and visual experience.
Overall, Morgan Matson’s debut novel is a winning addition to contemporary YA. With a romance that actually develops, the multimedia supplements, and the feel-good magic that usually arises from a good road trip, AMY AND ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR will feel as good as listening to a playlist of great new songs with your favorite person.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - It has a cool vintage tint to it, but I actually had completely disregarded this book until I read the zillions of good reviews on it. Just goes to show you what sort of impression a cover and a title can make, I suppose.
Simon & Schuster / May 4, 2010 / Hardcover / 352pp. / $16.99
Review copy bought.