Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 352 pages
"Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew - just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road - diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards - this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself."
Any one of my close friends will tell you that I'm sort of a sucker for those chick-lit contemporary books, and I'm not afraid to admit it! I heard that Amy and Roger's Epic Detour was a road trip novel with a romance as well, so, naturally, I had to read it. Also, although the cover art may look a bit cheesy, at least it's adorable and gives some insight as to what the novel is about. Nothing annoys me more than a faceless model on a cover that is completely irrelevant to the plot.
The novel begins as we meet Amy, a girl who has a love for theater, but is still mourning over the death of her father. Amy's grief about her father's death extends much further than anyone can imagine and Amy's mother takes it upon their family to travel all the way across the country to Connecticut. The only thing is that Amy's mother is already in Connecticut, and in order to save money, Amy must drive their car to their soon to be home. Charlie, Amy's brother, is dealing with his own issues that involve drug and alcohol abuse. Charlie is sent away to a rehabilitation center in North Carolina and Amy must take the long road trip practically by herself. Then we are introduced to Roger. He is friendly, kind, and very inviting. Amy hardly remembers him and is now going to be spending an entire road trip stuck in a small car with a stranger more or less. Amy was a great character to learn more about. She is a normal girl in search of closure. The journey she takes with Roger is just what she needs to finally move on to better things within her life. Roger is the one who actually gets Amy to open up about the accident that killed her father and it is a pivotal moment in the book.
I love the plot because who doesn't like a nice, long, scenic road trip? I was continually interested in all of these places that I, myself had never visited. Also, there are pictures within the chapters of hotels or restaurant receipts that I found to be pretty cool. It shows Matson had her extent of knowledge about the places that her characters were visiting. In fact, in the back of the novel Matson states that she, herself took the same road trip that Amy and Roger did, but backwards! I thought that was just so awesome. Another aspect that was incorporated that I found to be pretty sweet was the various playlists that Roger created for the trip. Roger felt that a good playlist of music was key to a successful road trip, so along their ride he created many different playlists. I always looked forward to seeing what songs and artists would be featured on the numerous playlists. Also, the titles for them were quite humorous as well.
The road trip definitely magnifies Amy's need for a complete journey in her life, but it also shows Roger's need for one as well. Roger has his own past with relationships and that same initial yearning for closure that is shared with Amy. I thought it was great how everything isn't so focused on Amy, but is also focused on Roger as well. On the outside he seems to relaxed, at ease, and out-going, but he is dealing with his fair share of problems too. These problems make Amy a little uncomfortable, but it only connects Roger and Amy more. I couldn't help but feel all giddy inside when they were simply together and enjoying each other's company.
I don't want to bash this book, because I found it completely adorable and sweet and a happy-go-lucky sort of read, but it's awfully predictable and I guess it all depends on what type of books you enjoy. I, of course, LOVE the chick-lit contemporary novels and fall for them so easily because I just have a problem. I think this book is great for the beginning of summer or the middle of summer or just during the summer at all, really! I was glad to kick start my summer with this terrific read, but I can't say I was totally blown away. Although I did love the road trip aspect, it wasn't so unique and different that I'll remember this book forever or something. It's just one of those light reads that make things more bearable and I like that.
So, furthermore, if you love road trips, chick-lit novels, or are a huge fan of contemporary books Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is for you!
Rating: 3 stars - I liked it. Worth borrowing.