August 27, 2012
Amy and Rogers Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Amy and Roger may have known each other when they were little — their Mom’s are college friends — but at 16 and 19 they haven’t seen each other in years. Yet Roger may be the solution to her problems whether she likes it or not.
For the past month, Amy has been going through the motions. She goes to school without connecting with anyone and comes home to an empty house. Mom has already moved from California to Connecticut to start her new job. As the school year ends, Amy’s mom discovers she can’t afford to have the car shipped to Connecticut and buy Amy a plane ticket as well. The solution? Amy is going to take a road trip.
The problem is that Amy hasn’t driven since the day her father was killed in a car accident. Amy, who was driving, blames herself and she’s sure everyone else blames her too. Why else is she all alone? Not only can Amy not drive, she can’t even stand to be in a car.
Not to worry, Mom (as clueless as only an adult can be) has thought of everything. Roger too needs to travel East. He will drive and Amy will navigate. Understandably, Amy isn’t thrilled with the idea of traveling with someone she doesn’t know.
In spite of the many issues involved (Roger has his fair share), the two hit it off. They start discussing the many things they’d like to see and note that not a single one is on the itinerary prepared by Amy’s mother, not unless they take a detour.
I can’t really say much more about the plot without some killer spoilers and you really don’t want me to do that with this book. The journey, both in terms of geography and the growth of our two main characters, is amazing.
In spite of the low reading level, this is very much a teen book. Amy and Roger are both dealing with serious relationship issues and what is means to be a responsible adult. There’s a lot about knowing yourself and what it really means to know other people. It sounds like a heavy book, but it isn’t because the story is told with humor.
Amy and Roger are both well-rounded characters. They have their strengths as well as their weaknesses and I love the inserts throughout the book that show their play lists for the road trip. You learn a lot about them through their music and the little side notes they make in the journal Amy keeps.
The one character who seems a bit two-dimensional is Amy’s Mom. But then you only hear her through phone messages and phone calls. She’s a presence without actually being present. This probably won’t bother many young readers, all of whom will have met someone who is really like this.
I honestly don’t think I’ve done this story justice. It is as Epic as the title suggests. Pick it up and be ready for a great ride.