Amy Curry is having the worst year of her life and it looks
like it’s not going to get better any time soon. Her dad recently died in a car
crash and then her mother moves from California to Connecticut to start anew
just in time for Amy’s senior year. But that is not the end of Amy’s problems
because now Amy has to drive ‘Liberty’ their family car cross country. However,
there is one problem because since her father’s death Amy has simply not been
able to drive. Thus, that is where Roger Sullivan the son of Amy’s mother’s old
friend enters the scene. Although she hasn’t seen Roger in years Amy is now
expected to drive cross country with a guy she barely knows. Therefore when
Roger takes a scenic route than just driving from point A to B, suddenly Amy
finds herself on the road trip of a lifetime. Therefore as Amy begins to grow
closer to Roger she also begins to come to terms with her father’s unexpected
death and starts to put her own life together after the accident. Amy hence
starts to realize that sometimes in order to find your way home you simply have
to get lost. Thus, this is the story of one girl’s journey to finding herself.
I have wanted to write a review of this book for a while
because even though it has now been almost a month since I’ve read this book,
this story still lingers with me. I think about these characters all the time.
Therefore I can safely state that this is one of the best books I’ve read this
year. That is because although at first glance it may seem like a typical teen
novel one may be surprised to realize that it is much more than that. It was
well written; laugh out loud funny, achingly real and believable with awesome
characters, interesting settings and witty dialogues.
Amy and Roger are both very likeable and well-rounded
characters who are both going through personal problems and it is these
problems which help to bring them closer together. The author has written the
book in such a way that you can actually feel Amy’s emotions and the pain and
the guilt she feels regarding her father’s tragic death. Furthermore, while Roger may appear very
light-hearted, he’s not; he’s also dealing with some troubles with his
ex-girlfriend. But with each other’s help, they both learn to open up to the
other and in that process, they begin to overcome their problems. Thus, when
you read this book you will realize that they are not only going through a
physical journey, they are also going through an emotional journey which the
reader gets to experience with them right up to the end.
I also enjoyed watching both the characters develop
throughout the book; while Roger’s change was much more subtle than Amy’s it
was still interesting to see. For me both the characters felt very realistic,
they are people that you can easily relate to and people that you would like to
know in real life. Furthermore, the quirky characters that Amy and Roger met
along their journey were well developed with histories and stories of their
own. Therefore even the merest moments that we get to glimpse of these people’s
lives make us fall in love with them.
For me, one of the favourite things about this book was the
little extras that Matson included like Amy’s random notes about places they’ve
passed through, scribbles to one another, song playlists, receipts, the odd
email and photos of how much Roger has eaten for breakfast. All of which
provided a fun, quirky feel to the story and just added something special and
make this book stand out from all the other YA novels. Moreover, it also made
me feel like I was in the car with Amy and Roger, driving from one place to the
next. Furthermore, I also fell in love with their playlists and I can
definitely say that most of my new favourite songs are from these lists.
However, when you consider the ending of this book one would see that Matson
doesn’t wrap everything up neatly and there are lots of loose ends. But I
believe that’s what makes this book interesting because although there is no
‘Happily Ever After’ there is a strong sense that a new chapter is beginning in
Amy and Roger’s life. Therefore even though many readers would consider the
ending to be poignant I can safely say that it also made me smile.
Overall this book is a fantastic debut by Morgan Matson with
a strong plot and well-developed characters. It’s an eye-opening, realistic
adventure to disappear into Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour because it manages to
be heartwarming, fun, light, poignant, heartbreaking and hopeful all at the
same time. It is a wonderful book that has earned a special place on my
bookshelf and I have no doubt that I’ll be picking it up again and again.