August 21, 2015

Book Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy and Roger's Epic DetourAmy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Rating: /5

Get a copy here!

“But what if we hadn’t taken the detour?”
(Roger Sullivan; Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour)
Oh dude, now I feel like I have to be on a road trip soon!
And I’m not even an outdoor kind of girl.

I swear Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour had pulled me into one of the most awesome experience I got from just reading a book. It’s been a while since I found book like this. I read so many books with great plot, amazing characters, and even beautiful writing style. But I could just count with my fingers how many books that not only such an enjoyable read but also includes a well thought out and detailed setting that delivers such a clear delineation of what the characters experience as if I am actually there, seeing everything with my very own eyes. I only have read one book with road trip as the major part of the story so I know that it might be a feeble opinion of mine to say that this book is the best road trip-themed book ever existed out there but somehow I have a feeling that it is.
Well, if the book includes not simply the details of the trip but also highlighting each part that could make your fingers itched to pack your things up and just hit the road to follow them; if the book also accompany you with awesome mixes to enjoy while reading; if the book lets you to experience what the characters feel not just by words but also provides pictures of just everything from the trip across the states for you to see (and drool, in my case); and all those things don’t attract you then I don’t know what will.

Amy’s life was different after the accident that took his father away forever and practically sent the rest of the family apart as the after effect. With her mom’s already in Connecticut—their new home—and twin brother away in another states, Amy was left alone on their old house in California to finish her junior year. Now that final was over, her mom arranged a road trip for her from Raven Rock, California all the way to Stanwich, Connecticut. With a car—that she couldn’t bring herself to drive it. And a boy—who’s practically a stranger for her as she hadn’t seen him in years she totally forgot his face. It was imaginable just how Amy felt like hiding under her bed than doing as her mom had said. But of course it’s not something arguable for Amy, especially not with her mom. So she went along with it… except her and the boy, Roger, had another in mind for the trip that might be the only road trip they would ever do in their lives. And detour seemed to be the answer they’d been looking for.

The characters actually have such cliché personalities of young people—a little bit of everything: reckless, insecure, confused, and spontaneous—but even they become so interesting because their characterizations were done so well. Roger with his own issue and Amy with hers, during the detour they got to learn the things they never understood before, see life from different perspectives, and even come to terms with the burdened they’d been keeping inside them.

Amy thought all along that she's the one to blame about the accident that took her dad away forever. When, really, it wasn’t at all her fault. Having no one around to support her morally after the accident, doing something reckless to ease the pain which just ended up making her feel worse, and being left alone with no one to talk to only made her get drowned and drowned deeper into her own muddy dark thought involving self-blaming and some self-torturing by having a lasting train of what-ifs thinking. Being holed up in an empty house alone made Amy only got to judge life with her own narrow perspective that flawed with her insecure thoughts.
Being on a trip with some stranger for four days across the states was certainly the last thing she wanted to do after everything she'd been through. Who knows that in the end, Amy found out that this turned out to be the exact thing she needed at the moment. Going to places, meeting so many people, sharing stories with strangers, getting some wisdom from least expected sources, Amy learnt that maybe, just maybe, everything wasn’t as bad as she thought it was. That maybe she wasn’t the only one who hurt and in pain.

Roger’s issue is less complicated than Amy’s but it’s a side-story that as interesting as the rest. The message implied from Roger’s realization in the end is something that really valuable.
Roger was confused and felt as if he was standing in the edge of a cliff wondering whether he needed to jump or just stay hanging there by the root from nearby tree. Left by a girl without some clear explanation, Roger admitted that he just felt the need to find out why she left, though some stupid lump in the corner of his heart wishing that they maybe would be able to get back together again. That’s what, at first, led him to a trip across the country with a high-schooler who mysteriously hated driving and Elvis at the same level. Thinking that maybe he would be able to get to his ex for the answer she seemed never wanted to give; he agreed to hit the road with Amy to Connecticut. That’s when the journey began and Roger finally found the answer he'd been looking for… though it might not come from what he expected it would be.
Amy and Roger are two people going on a trip decided to take a detour for each different reason but ended up finding the same destiny.
‘The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren’t looking for them.’
(Roger Sullivan; Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour)
Morgan Matson didn’t just write this story; she experienced the story and told us about it from different perspective of a fictional character through a book. So you can imagine how real it comes out, what with the trip journal filled with pictures of places, foods, even motel receipts from different states along with fun facts and mixes of songs they listen to during the trip. I just LOVE all these details too much! People, I think this book just earned me another amazing author to keep an eye on *eagle eyes*

Ms. Matson writes beautifully. Though it was more on serious tone than light and funny, it didn’t stop me from having an aww moment of Roger and Amy. Things between them were really sweet but not too cheesy. It was enough to paint a stupid grin on your face but not enough to make you want to clench-unclench your tingling palms in disbelief. And those people they met along the way… Man, is it even possible to fall in love with characters that only make appearance in a few small scenes? Of course it is; when Ms. Matson decided to let them deliver some valuable bits of wisdom for our main characters to think about. Wasn’t this idea just oh-so-genius?

Amy is a girl whose personality might belong to us. I could easily relate with her for some parts. Like how I'm a very awkward person on the first meet and how I tend to push people away who's overly attentive to me. The only thing I found annoying about her was that she loved to compare herself with this expectation version of herself, Amy! ; someone she always thought she would be if put in different circumstances. She's that insecure that I feel bad for her.

Roger meanwhile is the boy who could perfectly pass as boyfriend with flying colors. Hell, I would even be more than thrilled just to have him as a friend. He's the kind of person that could hang out with anyone and be so at ease at it. And with his taste of music, I don't doubt that he and I could ‘click’ on our first meet (if my awkwardness doesn’t get in the way… but Roger would send it away if it does).
‘I understood in a flash why, on the Greyhound sign, Arrivals and Departures were right next to each other. Because sometimes, […], they can mean exactly the same thing.’
(Amy Curry; Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour)
The ending isn't exactly how I imagined it would be. In fact, I actually didn’t even think about it while reading. Amy and Roger's detour had me totally engrossed I didn’t even care what would happen beyond the last destination. Ms. Matson wraps the book with an open ending where the readers could continue where it ends however they like. And surely I have my own version of epilogue which involved some fluffy scene and happy ending (you know, me being a romantic, HEA-freak, and all).

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour is one engaging read you don't want to miss. Amy and Roger take us on a road trip where ‘to take a risk’ is the key point. Share some secrets with strangers, do something contrary to what you usually do, try something new, and ignore your limits; these are the things that everyone should do at least once in their life. This book delivers a journey of finding calmness in riot and riskiness of unknown places; where sometimes all we need is to take a step out of comfort zone and see our life from different angles to really figure it out. Because sometimes when driving through the main road doesn’t work, all we need to do is to take a little detour and keep going on.

What a lovely perfect read!
“Tomorrow will be better.”
“But what if it’s not?”
“Then you say it again tomorrow. Because it might be. You never know, right?
At some point tomorrow will be better.”

(Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour)

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


Post a Comment