Title: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Publish date: May 2010
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.My take: I am going to go with this is definitely one of my favorite YA books of the year. It was clever, witty, and caused a paradigm shift. Not only that, Amy and Roger went to Utah. Okay, not exactly the Utah I live in, in fact, I've never been to Delta but I can relate to southern Utah looking like the Mars pictures and it truly is breathtaking.
The clever part is similar to "Don't Stop Now." Amy and Roger are supposed to stick to an itinerary and decide to take the "scenic route." The scenic route is often the road less traveled as evidenced by choosing Delta, Utah then checking in as Edmund and Hillary. I am embarrassed to say that it took me until within the last 30 pages to have my AHA moment that Edmund and Hillary were referring to Mt. Everest explorers.
Not only is the journey rather fun, but the author intersperses the written word with a visuals like hand written travel book entries, song tracks for the occasion which were not only appropriate but oddly disconcerting that she knew so many of these artists, lyrics, and sound tracks. Truly awesome!
Besides enjoying the overall book, the protagonists were likeable and relateable. Both had suffered a loss or two and were floating in an ocean of uncertainty of what to do next. The detour destinations were quirky but provided healing for both people. Amy began healing not only herself from her father's sudden death, but she began to build bridges between herself and her remaining family. She also opened herself up to those along the way. Hadley was a little extraneous but provided Roger with a conflict with a satisfactory resolution.
Since I am also reading "Out of Oz," I quite enjoyed the Kansas experience - understated with references to "The Wizard of Oz" and, a pivotal point for both Roger and Amy to see home in a different perspective.
It's heartbreaking, quirky, funny, sweet, and unexpected. My final verdict is that I loved it.