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

How Excited Was I To Read Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson? 10. I love road trips, in books and real life! Cute cover too!

How Excited Was I When I Finished This Book?: 5. Never got into it. I’ll try to explain why below…

Book Jacket: 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.

Review: The concept behind this book was great. It had so much potential! Cross country road trip with a guy the main character knew as a young girl but hadn’t seen in years who happens to have turned out really very cute? Fun little mementos of the trip included throughout, including… Playlists?! How could things have gone wrong for me!

First, there was Amy. She feels uncomfortable sharing a (large) bed with a platonic male friend. And keeps on describing how hot-and-bothered she gets when he changes into… A t-shirt and gym shorts? Be still my beating heart. This might work if she was 13. But she is a senior in high school who has been going to college parties, who has been partying at college parties (or at least enjoying the booze) and who lost her virginity to her college-aged sort-of-boyfriend within the last few months in his dorm room. Either she was super flaky or disingenuous (or both) or Matson was trying to up the sexual tension (while keeping things PG) in a way that was entirely unnecessary. I was physically rolling my eyes when she described him as practically “undressed” in said t-shirt and gym shorts. What do Morgan Matson’s male friends wear around on the weekends?

The second thing that didn’t ring true for me: the way their relationship was shown progressing with the mementos from the trip. Matson included cute postcards, receipts, etc. in between chapters. Which was awesome because you felt like you were experiencing the trip with them. Except it was weird because Amy and Roger’s friendship/romance developed much faster in these little notes than in the story itself. They seemed completely familiar with each other in haikus written about an early hike, even as Matson was describing the awkwardness of the ride and how much was passed in silence.

Later, Amy says to never ask Roger about Hoosiers in Indiana. But we never get a real glimpse of that conversation, just the intro. I had to take it on faith the entire time that they were actually getting to know each other. I was told rather than shown.

That being said, there was one way in which this book didn’t disappoint. I love playlists in books! These were quite varied which I appreciated. But another quibble! Matson made Amy obsessed with musical theater, which I assume means she likes it. And so does her fantasy guy. But I have yet to meet the 19 year old boy who, upon being introduced to showtunes for the first time, wants to listen to the entirety of The Producers TWICE. I’m just saying…

Sexual Tension Factor: I really liked Rogers’s character. And I actually liked how he was hung up on a perfect (and perfectly mean) ex. Boys are silly sometimes. That rang true for me. What didn’t was their relationship.

I also thought both he and Amy were way to nervous about road-tripping in general. Road trips are fun and you have adventures. They aren’t necessarily adventurous per se. At least I took one across the country with a boyfriend when I was around their age, and my parents were cool with it. Not booking me into every hotel…

Re-Readability: nope! But I’m going to go back through and see if I should download any songs from the playlists?

Recommended for: agh, I don’t know! I think there are better similar books out there! I didn’t mention before that Amy was grieving through the whole process, but I didn’t love the way that was treated either! I can explain more in the comments if y’all want to call me on that part though! Also note that this one is hugely popular on goodreads. It just didn’t ring true for ME.

If You Liked This Book You Should Also Check Out: I’m going with Five Flavors of Dumb, which I reviewed recently on this site. It deals with serious issues in a better way! Also Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg, because it really shows how weird people can be when getting together. And it’s a fun read too. For a road trip… Screw it, I’m going with On the Road by Jack Kerouac. It’s got to be read once!