My first encounter with Morgan Matson was earlier this summer when I treated myself to a new hardcover from B.J.’s Wholesale Club. It’s not normally where I buy books, but they had a good price and I hadn’t heard of Since You’ve Been Gone, so I figured I would give it a shot. I was in love. Ever since I read her newest book I knew I had to pick up her two others. With a handy coupon from Barnes and Noble, I try to be a savvy book shopper but that doesn’t always work out, I ordered Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. Thank goodness for Goodreads, I realized this novel had been on my “to-read” list for quite a while and I was rather disappointed that it took me this long to pick it up.
Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: Young Adult
Published: May 2010
“And sometimes,” she added, in slightly hushed tones, like she was letting me in on a secret, “if you don’t feel great on the inside, just look great on the outside, and after a while you won’t be able to tell the difference.”
(This quote is said by a character Amy meets during the trip in Colorado. I really would love if there was an entire book about Bronwyn. She seems like quite the spitfire.)
Amy Curry lives in California. She has a twin brother, Charlie, who she doesn’t understand anymore and her life seems to be falling apart. Her dad died in a car accident earlier in the year and not knowing what else do, Amy’s mom decides to pick up and move to Connecticut where her mother lives. She accepted a teaching job at another university and decides to head over earlier while Amy is finishing up her Junior year of high school. Left alone in her empty house, Amy has to deal with realtors and strangers traipsing in and out of her home.
Every since her dad’s car accident, she hasn’t wanted to drive. This poses a problem when her mom informs her that she needs her car driven from CA to CT. This is where Roger comes in. An old childhood friend is roped in to driving the car while Amy navigates. The two haven’t seen each other since they were kids and man, is he cute! Ditching the route that Amy’s mom planned out for them, they find adventure and while munching on snacks and listening to music (the two road trip essentials). From detouring all across the states, they eventually learn a lot about themselves and each other.
I fell in love with this book. Between the playlists and all the stops they made along the way, I found myself wanting to jump in my car (which also happens to be a Jeep Liberty) and go on a long road trip with my friends. While some things may not be all that realistic, it was a fun escape! I know for a fact that my mother would never let me road trip across America at 17 with a college boy I hadn’t seen in years. My dad wouldn’t even feel safe with me driving with only one other person, and in my situation, there would be two drivers and not one like in the book. Despite that, I loved how honest and real the characters were. Though I’m not sure how much of those conversations would happen with strangers, my disbelief probably steams from being ridiculously shy, but at least the characters were honest. This book made me ache for summer and adventure (even though it IS summer, I’m not really going on any adventures this year- being a grown up is hard).
Amy’s fear of getting behind the wheel is entirely too relatable for me. I haven’t experienced anything that horrible but I know how hard it was for me to get back behind the wheel after I had been in an accident and no one was even injured. Anyone who has suffered a close loss will understand what Amy is going through when she doesn’t want to talk about it. Matson gives that feeling that no one really talks about a voice through Amy. Props.
As a former theater geek and current Broadway lover, I understand Amy’s draw to the stage. I loved the inclusion of musical trivia and it made me miss being in high school. Roger’s love of explorers made me laugh and it was fun to see how their varied interests interacted. I longed to meet new people while I read Amy and Roger’s interactions with the people along their journey. Reading their (fictional) experiences made me wish I was more outgoing. I also know what to see all the landmarks they saw. I’ve never had a real drive to want to explore the middle of America but now I can say I really do. My road trip would be entirely different and probably wouldn’t involve falling in love with a boy I just kinda met but it would be mine. And that’s what counts.
Not everyone enjoys the inclusion of the playlists but I love it. I greatly enjoy finding new music and I love learning what authors think about music wise while writing their novels. My new favorite song that I was introduced to from this novel is All My Days- Alexi Murdoch. If you’ve read this novel, comment on what your favorite song is that you were introduced to from the playlists! Love to hear what you think.
Road trip, anybody? I’ll provide the tunes, you provide the snacks. Pink lemonade, cheez-itz, and m&ms for me please!