I loved this book so much!!! Seriously, after I was done reading it I just hugged it to my chest and grinned like an idiot --- which, by the way, got me some really strange glances from people sitting near me on the subway ... ;o)
There are many words that can be used to describe this book --- wonderful, great, brilliant, beautifully written, captivating, delightful, touching, funny, poignant, cute, memorable, enjoyable, enchanting, amazing, charming ... well, I'm sure you get the drift ... ;o)
Amy and Roger are such wonderful characters --- likable and real, and I could really relate perfectly to them. They both have been broken in a way --- although admittedly Amy's father dying is much worse than Roger's girlfriend breaking up with him without giving a reason. Not only are they virtual strangers at the beginning of the trip but they are each vulnerable and have to learn to trust again. Watching their relationship change from wariness and "unsureness" (they don't really no how to act around each other at first, but then that's what it is often like with strangers) to friendship and finally to romance was such a joy!
Their detour --- which takes them from California to Connecticut by way of Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and quite a few more states --- is also a healing trip. It gives both of them time to face their demons, so to speak. In the beginning, Roger is still hung up on his ex, Hadley, and is on a mission to find out why she broke up with him. Amy, on the other hand, is still dealing with the aftermath of the car accident in which her father was killed --- the accident for which she blames herself. Over the course of their trip both Amy and Roger come to realize that sometimes the only way is forward. And - as Roger so aptly puts it - often the best discoveries are the ones you weren't looking for ... the ones you just stumble across.
In addition to Amy and Roger, the book also boasts some truly great (and interesting) secondary characters, all of whom enrich the story in some way.
Last but not least, I absolutely adored all the little touches throughout the book (very creative!) --- the photos, playlists, receipts, postcards, the little drawings and side notes. It all made the story feel so much more real --- more even, it made me feel like I was right there with Amy and Roger, doing "Hike-U" at Yosemite, driving along "the loneliest road in America", eating Derby Pie and "Crumbly Burgers" with special sauce and playing Twenty Questions!
In fact, right now I'm just itching to clear out my bank account, buy myself a plane ticket from Germany to California, and drive across America in a car to have my very own "epic detour" ... LOL!
Anyone up for a road trip???