Friday, February 1, 2013

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

Release Date:May 4th 2010
Pages: 344 Pages
Audiobook: 10 hours and 8 minutes
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary

Synopsis: 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

I’ve been having a stare down with this novel for nearly a year, deciding if I would like it or not. So, when I had an extra Audible point to spare, I went ahead and got the audiobook and it did not disappoint.

Amy Curry’s life is changing. Her father was killed in a car crash while she was at the wheel, Her mother is moving the family from California to Connecticut and Charlie, her twin brother, is in rehab in North Carolina. The only thing Amy can do to deal is to hide. So, when her mother asks college sophomore Roger Sullivan---a boy Amy hasn’t seen in years-- to drive the her and the family car from California to Connecticut she isn’t prepared. And when Roger asks to take one detour they end up on a road trip that is less about the destination and more about the journey. In a trip filled with receipts, mottos, endless road and a little bit of Elvis,Amy learns to grieve and say goodbye.

Author Morgan Matson does a wonderful job of infusing regional elements the world of the book. As Amy and Roger travel across the country, she picks up on the different cultures of the United States. I loved how at each stop Amy and Roger would experience the different foods in that part of the country like Derby pie and sweet tea in the South, In and Out burger in California and Chickfila on the East Coast. I really want to go to the Mid-West one day and try a NuWay burger and custard. Is it as good as the book makes it sound ?

Suzy Jackson does a wonderful job narrating the audiobook, her narration of Amy really fits the character. There are a lot of male character in the novel and Jackson did an excellent job of creating an assortment of male voices. However, the novel is told in e-mails, playlist, receipts, notes as well as prose, and that doesn’t always work on the audio. As much as I liked the audio, I would recommend this book more in it’s print format.

The legs of Amy and Roger’s trip are characterized and headed with music from Roger’s playlist If I had read this book I think it would have been fun to listen to the playlists while reading. I’m not much of a music person, so I didn’t recognize a lot of the artist. I did know a few like Jose Gonzales or The Weepies from the TV show Bones (random, I know)

I think fans of Sarah Dessen will connect with Matson as she uses a lot of the similar elements; parents in academia, polar opposite siblings, traumatic character backgrounds that peek at the edges of the story.  But, where Dessen’s stories are contained in one environment, Matson takes her story on a journey.

Matson mixes quirky fun with bittersweet sadness to create a complex and entertaining story. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is a fun heartwarming road trip novel that let’s you sit back and enjoy the ride.

Side note : According to the Matson's FAQ, it looks like Amy and Roger make an appearance in Matson's 2012 novel Second Chance Summer !


  1. I tend to like a roadtrip setting (having taken many myself), but I may stay away from this one. The comparison to Dessen makes me wary. I gobbled up her books for a while, but I've gone off them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Sounds like an adventure in self discovery. I do like those kinds of books a lot. Loving that the author included different customs and foods from each specific area they traveled through. It probably made the experience more authentic.

  3. The print version of this book is super cute, thanks to the illustrations and doodles and receipts and all that. I think it definitely would come across better in print! But this story is beautiful though. I absolutely adored it.

  4. I'll have to check out the print version one day, I know they have it at my library !

  5. I think you nailed it on the head perfectly !

  6. It's funny, think Sarah Dessen is one of those YA authors who has been around forever and it seems like people either like her books, don't like her book or have heard of them but never read one.

  7. This book is like a must-read if one loves reading road trip books and apparently I never got to read it. So I had no idea that the story is told in different forms, definitely seems something new to me. I'd be reading it this year and hopefully I'll like it as much as you did.

    Great review, Kat! =D

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile


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