Amy and Roger's Epic Detour | Review

Author: Morgan Matson
Published: May 4, 2010
(Simon & Schuster)
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Source: Library

The next few book reviews will all be formatted differently. I'm still trying to find my style for reviewing books. Bear with me as I attempt to find the best way I can get my thoughts across, and just overall better reviews.

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it's Amy's responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn't ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip - and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar - especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory - but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way. [Goodreads]

This was my first Morgan Matson book! Over the summer I wanted to read her other book, Since You've Been Gone, but I never got around to it. I don't know if it's just the cover, but that book gives me summer vibes so I don't feel right reading it during this time of the year. I was just in the mood for a really good contemporary and I've heard that her books are exactly that.

First and foremost I need to talk about the playlists. The book is full of little scrapbook and journal clippings which included the playlists that Roger creates throughout their roadtrip. There are a few songs on Roger's playlists that I remember loving when I was younger. (I'm looking at you Jack's Mannequin) It really hasn't been THAT long (I was sixteen/seventeen when I listened to this music and I'm twenty four now), but listening to these songs sent me on a major nostalgia trip. I wanted to make a playlist, but it seems that a lot of people have already made them on 8tracks (1, 2, 3, 5, 6)  and on YouTube (4).

One of the tasks that Roger wants to accomplish on this trip is to find his ex-girlfriend, and work it out with her. I felt like grabbing Roger by the shoulders and telling him to get over his ex-girlfriend. He's basically on this wild goose chase to find her when she clearly doesn't care about him anymore. At the same time I loved him for caring so much especially for Amy, but I'll get to that in a bit. I wouldn't say that Roger goes through anything life-changing or some self discovery, but he does realize something (as much as I can say without spoiling). Aside from the whole fixation on the ex-girlfriend thing, I loved Roger as a character. Most importantly I fell in love with his taste in music.

I feel bad for Amy, and my soul breaks every time she remembered her dad. She goes through major survivor's guilt, and blames herself for his death. I can understand why she felt the way she did towards her mom, but I wanted to know a little bit about their relationship before the big incident. I feel like that would influence Amy's attitude towards her, and then as a result doesn't fill her mom in on the "detour" that her and Roger end up taking. Amy's growth in the book is more personal. She comes into her own as a person and matures, and it was refreshing to see a character in a young adult novel that realizes that she can change. It wasn't a drastic change where it would be practically not believable, but to the point where as a reader we know that when we close the book there's more that she's going to take on.

Amy and Roger's relationship/interaction
Their interactions felt natural and throughout the novel they built upon one another to create a friendship that didn't feel forced. I didn't feel like Morgan Matson was jumping at the chance to get them two together. When Amy was having a hard time coping and Roger needed to be there he never acted upon the chance to come on to her. It definitely felt like a friendship forming first and foremost.

Long Story Short
I loved the formatting of the novel, which included looks into Amy's travel journal and Roger's playlists. These little pieces of the roadtrip made the story fun to read. This is a contemporary with substance. Amy and Roger are realistic characters who become friends over the span of their roadtrip from California all the way to the east coast. So many young adult contemporary novels rush the idea of romance that it makes it insta-lovey and not at all believable. This is not that at all. I loved this book, and I'm excited to read Morgan Matson's other novels.


  1. I have been wanting to read this one for a while! I think it's so cool that music is incorporated throughout it.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    1. I love it when books add that extra feature, especially anything to do with music.

  2. I'm so glad you liked this one! I agree about Amy's character - I really, really felt for her as she worked through her dad's death. And the format was so fun too! I always love stories that are told through a variety of mediums - it can make the plot seem so much more engaging and realistic. You should definitely pick up Second Chance Summer (my favorite Matson book) ASAP.

    1. This book gave me that final push to read her other books. I had been planning on picking up Since You've Been Gone, but I might start with Second Chance Summer instead.