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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lefty's Lowdown: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Published: May 4, 2010 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: purchased
Summary from Goodreads: 
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.

 I feel like a broken record, spouting over and over again how marvelous Morgan Matson is. But you shoukd blame Matson, not me--it's not my fault Matson has never disappointed me. Not with the other books I've read by her, and not with this one. Morgan Matson set a high standard by putting the word "epic" in the title, and while I don't know that I'd actually describe this novel as epic, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour has so, so, so many special qualities that make it absolutely wonderful.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: Morgan Matson is a master of characterization. She has a way of creating interesting, flawed characters that you can't help but root for. Such was certainly the case for Amy and Roger. Amy is struggling to deal with her father's death, and blaming herself for it. Her brother is in rehab. Her mom has been in another state for a month. She's lonely and she's completely broken in the beginning. And Roger begins the trip broken-hearted and idolizing some beautiful, bitchy girl. But they both grow so much over the course of the novel, and it is just an amazing transformation. Matson also has a knack for creating mmorable secondary characters, like Bronwyn and Lucien, who flash through the story and leave their mark on me and the other characters. Her characters are always an absolute delight to read.

Now, I, personally, am a sucker for road trip stories. Probably because I live in a perpetual state of wanderlust. And this is one of the most interesting road trips I've ever read about. I loved reading about the different stops they made, especially considering all of the stops were personal. What's incredible is that Matson has actually made this trip a few times, so all the details are not only accurate, but vivid. I felt like I was actually on the trip myself.

My absolute favorite part of this novel, though, are all the inserts. There are receipts, brochures, photographs, and more. It's just so cool! It makes it feel more realistic, and it adds something special to the story that you don't find in a lot of road trip stories. Also, THE PLAYLISTS. Matson always makes sure that music is a huge part of her novels, and, as an avid music nerd, I just adore that. In this novel, she makes actual playlists that have little doodles on them and funny alternate titles. Those playlists and inserts are what really stole ,y heart.

Although this book deals with grief, loss, familial issues, and other serious subjects, it is a fabulous summer read that will leaveyou feeling good. It has humor and kissing and diners. This is not your typical road trip story. It's better, I assure you.

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