Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (May 4, 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.
From frozen yogurt (California), to frozen custard (Kansas), to derby pie (Kentucky), to Dairy Queen (Virginia), Amy Curry and Roger Sullivan travel the nation on in unrestricted journey from Cali to Connecticut and discover that meeting new people and overcoming old pains is just some of the many things that life may throw at you when you are completely unprepared. After a horrible car accident, Amy feels beyond repair when for so long her father had been a constant figure in her world who loved Elvis and Life Savers hard candy, and now she feels like moving across the country is the worst betrayal of all to his death. With her brother, Charlie, in a North Carolina rehab facility and her mother in their new house in Connecticut, Amy must go with Roger--a guy she barely remembers playing Spud with--on a road trip she's dreading for its significance. Only, when they take one small detour, they discover that there may be room for more if they take the scenic route instead of the convenient one.
I truly enjoyed the pace of this book because I felt that although it took its time in explaining many structures that made up the plot--the states, Amy's past, Roger's current conflicts and interests--Matson made the road trip feel like a fulfilling quest of independence and freedom. I learned the motto to a state I've actually been to and a meal that is so famous in the most expensive hotel there--I'm exaggerating. I love learning tidbits I've never known about the things that I've only bypassed and didn't spend the time to discover.
My favorite aspects of this book had to be the many people that Amy and Roger met while traveling Middle America. Walcott being my dream guy because I loved his soul-bearing rocker attitude so much and I could pretty much picture his future in my head, which of course would reside in Kansas since he has so much pride in his state, his home I should say. He would definitely be one of those mental heart breakers because you'd fall so deep you wouldn't begin to know how to get back up. Roger had the most fantastic college friends that I just adhered to because of their genuine personalities and wholesome feel.
While Amy helps Roger with his ex-girlfriend breakup, her problems take a backseat till you reach closer to the end of the book. This was fine with me because while he was taking of his problems Amy did not become an inactive character at all. She learned how to start to break down the barrier surrounding her and let loose some unbearable pain and resentment for the things that haven't been said aloud.
I believe that Matson is an artist at building relationships, situations and emotions between characters that bring them to levels of familiarity where none was expected to be found. I cannot recommend Amy & Roger's Epic Detour enough to adults and young adults who will appreciate the view into America and its winding roads.