Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Simon & Schuster, 2010
I've been wanting to read this one for a while, ever since I first saw the cover. (Yes, I confess: book covers go a long way in catching my attention). This is a great summer read, and would be a wonderful choice for crashing on the beach or in the backyard. I read it during February, a very cold part of February, however - and it was like escaping winter for a mini summer vacation.
Amy's life is essentially in shambles. Three months ago her father was killed in a car accident, and she's not driven since. This complicates matters immensely, since her mother has moved to Connecticut, and Amy has to "drive" their car cross-country to their new home. To make matters worse, her twin brother Charlie is in rehab in North Carolina. Needless to say, Amy is a mess - even without being forced to conquer her fear of driving. The solution to the quandary? Recruit Roger, the son of a long-time family friend, to drive Amy and the Jeep from California to Connecticut. Roger has secrets of his own, however, and their trip takes an unexpected turn when Amy takes him up on the half-joking suggestion to "take a detour".
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is an amazing road trip. Really. They take turns picking destinations, and make all kinds of discoveries along the way: discoveries about America, and about themselves. From the Loneliest Road in America to the deliciousness of Chick-fil-A, Amy and Roger are taking each mile of the trip as it comes, never knowing what awaits them. As Amy gradually adjusts to being around people again, she starts realizing that things can't stay bottled inside forever. She and Roger make a true connection, and he helps her gently but steadily break down the walls she put up and deal with the raw emotion she's kept hidden so long. This isn't all Amy's story however, and Roger learns to see past his own mistakes and look more clearly at life. In finding the best eats and chasing down windmills (a`la Don Quixote), Amy and Roger's epic detour becomes a literal journey to new life.
I enjoyed the reading experience: the text is broken into 'segments' by pages from Amy's travel journal. These include the playlist mixes that Roger creates, factoids about the states they travel through, and pictures of things along the road. The pictures are actual photographs that Morgan Matson took when she made the same road trip - which I found to be a very nice touch. At times, the story feels a bit intense, but not overwhelmingly so - especially considering the stuff Amy is working through. The full story of the accident, as well as other memories and instances she has pushed down, spins out slowly, in flashbacks, that match the pace of Amy's journey through the pain and into healing. I don't always like flashbacks, but these are clearly marked as such, and work very well with the story itself. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour is a light summer read that had enough substance to prevent it becoming "fluff," and I find myself wondering what other adventures the pair will have.
Book provided by my personal library.