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Book Review: ‘Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour’ by Morgan Matson

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As summer draws to a close, the school season begins, and your chance for an adventurous road trip diminishes, you may feel downhearted and blue. If the previous sentence describes you, I recommend checking out Morgan Matson’s “Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour.”

Product Details: Paperback, 384 pages
Retail Price: $10.99
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-416-99066-6
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

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Summary and review

The plot of “Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour” centralizes on Amy Curry and Roger Sullivan’s road trip from California to Connecticut. Sure, a road trip from coast to coast sounds beautiful, as well as exhausting, to the average person. However, the road trip initially is daunting and frightening to Amy.

Not long before the road trip, Amy and her father were in a car accident that ended his life. Since then, Amy has become withdrawn and refuses to drive a car. With the family still grieving, Amy’s mom decided to relocate the family to Connecticut and moved there before Amy. With Amy still unwilling to get behind the wheel, Amy’s mom enlists Roger to drive Amy to her new home.

Although Amy and Roger barely know each other at first, being stuck in a car together forces them to talk and connect. What was originally supposed to be a straight shot to Connecticut quickly turns into a fun adventure filled with, you guessed it, epic detours.

Morgan Matson
Morgan Matson
Photo: Simon & Schuster

Although this book was an end-of-the-summer impulse read for me, it actually became one of my favorite books that I read over the summer. I went into the book thinking it would be lighthearted and fun, but it was a lot more emotional than I expected. Throughout the book, you can see Amy slowly heal and come to terms with her father’s death, and I think her grieving is handled really well by Matson.

The most enjoyable aspect of the book is the relationship between Amy and Roger. I was rooting for them to fall in love from the get-go, and while there are some bumps in the road, they do form a great bond. They are able to be have honest conversations and gradually break down each other’s walls.

There is also quite a lot about the book that I can personally relate to, like Amy’s love of musicals. My family and I did a similar road trip to the characters, where we drove to different national parks out west and hit a lot of the same locations that the characters do. Matson’s descriptions of these places are spot on.

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In short, “Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour,” nicely balances the excitement of traveling with the complex emotions of grief. Reading this, you feel like you are on the road trip with the characters and don’t want it to end.

“Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour” is available through the the publisher’s websiteAmazon, and other retailers.