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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 9 April 2017
Just what I needed to get out of a reading slump. Such an enjoyable read. I love a good road trip book.
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on 21 January 2013
I say strangely compelling, because really, not a lot happens in this book. It's a simple road trip story featuring two young people who come to know and like each other. Amy, during the trip, has some stuff to work through, having suffered a recent loss. Roger also has some stuff going on but nothing as serious as Amy's issues. To be honest, I wasn't really happy with the way Amy's family problems were resolved, or not resolved, as was the case. And I was really hoping for much more romance and a less ambiguous ending.

Even so, I kept reading (or listening, as it were) because the book seemed to be promising a reward if I did so; If I just listen a little longer, I'll finally get to the the flashback I want about her father. If I listen a bit more, eventually some romance will happen... Those were the only reasons I kept going and, as I said, I ultimately wasn't satisfied with either of them by the end of the book.

From an audiobook point of view, it was enjoyable. The reader was very good and sounded about the right age for the character, which is always a big sticking point with me. She had quite a tough task as well, having to read endless lists of songs and artists, text messages and emails and other bizarre things that were thrown in a random to mark the passing of the miles.

Would I read this author again....? Probably not. There are more interesting, more dynamic books out there. Still, it was a pleasant way to pass a few hours on audio.

3 Stars ★★★
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on 24 May 2011
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???
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on 3 October 2012
Who would I recommend it to? Everyone, but mainly those who like road trip novels and realistic, contemporary ya fiction.

Review; One of the (many) things I love about this book is that Amy suffers from anxiety, and you can tell that. She's not one of those characters that is "socially awkward" and made out to be an anxious person. No, you can see that she has actually symptoms of anxiety, and that the awkwardness is an added effect of the anxiety. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I appreciate the more true portrait.
The character development was great. We learned more and more about Amy and Roger as the book went on, and in the end I had a picture in my mind of who Amy and Roger were/are.
All of the characters were great. I fell in love with even the small characters. Because every single one of them was human. Every single one of them had flaws. But every single one of them also had a personality that you couldn't help but love. Except for maybe one character. *cough* Hadley *cough*
You know, I'm not entirely sure there was anything I disliked about this book. Sure, it has flaws, what book doesn't? But I didn't seem to notice any. Well, maybe the way Amy changed so fast. She went from Anxiety Girl to Almost Confident Girl seemingly overnight! Or maybe that the book is only set over about a week. And that there wasn't more Andrew and Derek! I liked both of their characters instantly, but they are only in the book for a few pages!
But overall this book is an amazing, slightly emotional read, that has romance, and a back story! I'd recommend it!
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on 28 May 2011
I love anything to do with America. I've seen a little of it myself (though not nearly enough) so this book appealed to me immediately and I couldn't wait to start reading it.

I love road trip stories, something about taking poeple out of their comfort zone makes for very exciting stories. And this one had such a sad background with what had happened to Amy and her family, and Rogers emotional wounds was so touching. This wasn't just a adventure. It was about them discovering new things, healing raw wounds, and really finding out how stong they were, and the trip made them stronger, better people in the end.
You could really tell that the author had done this very trip. Not just because of the pictures, but her discriptive writing was what made this such a beautiful book to read. I felt almost like I had been there too and its made me really want to take a trip of my own.

I loved the layout of the book. I loved the info on the states (sometimes very humorous) and I especially loved the playlists. I intend to look up all the songs listed as I love music and how hearing a song you heard at a certain time or place sends you straight back there, lets you relive something. Everything in the book made you feel like you were part of Amy and Roger's trip. And it was a pleasure to be invited along. I think if there pictures, and reciepts and playlists hadn't been there the book would still have been amazing, but these little touches just finished it perfectly, it really was like you had got your hands on Amy's roadtrip journal.

Finally I loved the relationship between Amy and Roger. At first I thought it was going to take over the story. But it was done in such a subtle way that it didn't seem contrived or forced. You could feel these people getting closer, relying on each other and falling for each other without any sickly romance being shoved down your throat. Bravo to Morgan Matson. I almost wish they'd make it into a movie, but then again I don't. It couldn't possibly live up to the book, and I have often been disappointed when a film company in my eyes murders an excellent book.

I read this book slowly, only to make it last longer, I am sure I will read it many times in the future.
Thankyou Ms Matson it really was epic!!!
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on 18 August 2015
I've heard great things about Morgan Matson's writing and in particular, this book and whilst it has been on my TBR for a while, I wasn't dying to get my hands on a copy as I just thought it would be an average contemporary romance. But when it became available on Pulseit, I couldn't resist starting it to see what I thought.

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour is about Amy, a young girl who has recently lost her father and is struggling to come to terms with that, and the fact her mother left her to find a new house half way across the country. But it's now come to the point where Amy has to move too, and she must find a way to get there - with the family car - despite her new-found fear of driving. When Amy's mom suggests an old, estranged childhood friend Roger drives Amy, as he also needs to get across the country, Amy is understandably skeptical. Amy & Roger set off on a road trip that will take them to some strange places, in search of things they were unsure of with a complete stranger.

This book was amazing. Apart from making me want to bump "road trip across the USA" to the top of my bucket list and creating the desperate need to do it ASAP, I can't fault the book in any way shape or form. I enjoyed the characters - Amy and Roger developed a close friendship throughout and whilst the direction their relationship headed was fairly predictable, it just made it all the more enjoyable to see them get there. I really enjoyed the general atmosphere that this book created - I felt as though I was there in the back seat watching the events unfold and it all felt so realistic to me as a reader.

I would highly recommend reading Amy & Roger and this definitely won't be the last Morgan Matson book I read.
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on 20 October 2015
I have put off reading this book for a long time, and I don't know why! Every time I started reading it, I would put it back down and move on to a different book. I think for the most part it was because I didn't want to set myself up for possible disappointment. I haven't been enjoying reading so much, and I've been having some bad luck with the books I've picked up. This was one book that people were raving about and the majority of reviews were amazing that I really didn't want to be let down.

Well, let's just say, I stayed up all night reading it. All. Night. I have a newborn, and I'm supposed to be getting as much sleep as possible, but I stayed up ALL NIGHT. I cannot remember the last time a book made me stay up all night until I had read every last page. I really don't.

This book did.

I have read On the Road, and I have read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and I have read many other road trip based classics and stories, yet none of them, and I mean none, made me want to get up, pack my stuff and head out on a road trip. This one though...this book made me want to do just that.

I wanted to pack and get in the car and drive around, stopping at random places, staying at different places (including hotels, friends houses and even the car), meeting people, trying out all kinds of food, befriending strangers, seeing some pretty amazing sights and listening to awesome road trip music. What I didn't want to do was get high, sleep around with strangers, get pulled over by cops, experiment with drugs and almost get myself killed.

All of that aside, the story was also great and extremely compelling. The two main characters, Amy and Roger, were great fun to go on this trip with. Despite Amy's initial awkwardness, I loved that from the beginning she embraced this trip with Roger and accepted going on one major detour to get to her final destination. Obviously, we later learn that Roger had an ulterior motive to going on this trip and taking the detour, but Amy embraced that as well and was very understanding of the situation. Something I probably wouldn't have been able to pull off were I in her shoes.

Amy's dad had just passed away, and although we don't find out how it happened till the very end, we are aware that in one way or another it was Amy's fault and Amy blames herself for it and is punishing herself for it. We also know that it involves a car, because Amy refuses to drive one ever since her dad's death - which is why Roger comes into the picture to drop her off halfway across America to meet her mom who had left a month prior to get the house and everything ready.

This road trip was a brilliant way to view the character development of both Amy and Roger. It was a great opportunity to see them both change as they went from one stop to another. With every song they listened to, every conversation they had, every meal they ate and every night they spent together, they opened up a little more, changed a little more and in Amy's case came back to life a little more. I loved them together, even just as friends. I loved their interactions and the way they went about their journey. I loved the fun moments, but I also loved the sad moments, the emotional moments and the angry moments. I loved it all.

This is a great book. One for the road.
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on 8 May 2017
Ah yes. 300-odd pages of gorgeous summery fluffiness. Just what I needed.

Seriously though? Major awesome. Despite some pretty upsetting backstory for the main character (which was incredibly well-handled and definitely needed to ensure that the book didn't tip over the cliff edge between sugary and mindless), I'm not sure I stopped smiling the whole way through.

Maybe ... I would say that the main love interest was a little forgettable? Not two-dimensional, exactly, because he was an actual real person with flaws rather than a pixie dream boy, and I was entertained following his story, but I couldn't help thinking that if you'd taken out Roger and replaced him with a completely different but equally swoonworthy guy, I'm not sure the story would have changed much. I did love Amy though - her love of musicals (and playlists) made my musical nerd side happy - and there were many lovely, fascinating side characters. (Particularly Lucien. You've got to love Lucien and his Southern teddy bear-ness.)

Part of the reason I think the characters didn't shine so much was that the rest of it was so, well, epic (shush, I'm allowed to make puns if I want). The settings were alive in their beauty, and I absolutely adored all the little clippings - I didn't know that saved receipts and handwritten photo captions could make a book more vivid, but somehow they did. You can tell the author's done her research - not to mention driven the exact route - and it turns the book from decent to impressive.

I ... really wanna go on a road trip across America now. But maybe I'll actually tell my Mum first?
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I am proud to say this book is going on my keeper shelf. Road trip novels always held a special appeal to me, so this book was always going in my TBR. It was one of my most anticipated books of 2010. From the cover, to the first sentence, all the way to the ending - it held me in a way few books do. I am proud to say it both met and surpassed all expectations I had.

Amy is home alone in California, packing up to drive across the country to her new home in Connecticut with her mother and her twin brother, Charlie. Roger is sent with her to supervise, drive, and hitch a ride to Philadelphia himself. They were old childhood playmates, but they hardly remembered each other. Amy is barely getting over her father's recent death, and Roger is dealing with the harsh break-up of someone he thought he loved. Needless to say, we are met with two needy and complex protagonists, and they give us one heck of a ride.

What mainly follows is a series of detours. Amy and Roger decide to ride through Yellowstone, bypassing her mother's preplanned route; hotel reservations and MapQuest directions included. With caution thrown to the wind, we see these two characters change and build a relationship unlike any other. Amy deals with fears and her inability to be adventurous, as well as with a not-so-smooth mother/daughter relationship. Roger deals with trying to move on from a relationship that was never quite right, and with his new experiences with Amy.

The writing and layout of this book was, in one word, perfect. It flowed and had the fun campy quality of Johnson's 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES and the depth of BECOMING CHLOE. Out of all the road trip novels I have read, this is so far the tops in terms of writing. The reader is also treated to the occasional email or music playlist. Though they don't show up constantly, but just enough to leave a lasting impact. Oh, and the rare receipt thrown in also had a lasting effect. Let me just say that this method ties into the ending in a way that left me utterly reeling with joy.

Characterization and plot are no strangers to the power of this simple yet complex writing. Amy and Roger grow so slowly, yet exponentially, that the reader is left with a sense of completion upon finishing each chapter. The actions and growth are so subtle, yet hit the reader like the impact of an ocean wave on a tiny plastic boat. Even the side characters are perfect; their formations are great, and they don't ever feel like they are dropped, which is usually the case with novels like this. Even stationary novels have trouble with wrapping up characters, yet Matson does it with an ease and clarity that is appreciated greatly.

Quotes begin every chapter section and fit together very well with the overall theme of the novel. This book is romantic and cute, but it manages to have several layers to it. The overall themes involving traveling and home and letting go are hit hard and in just the right spots to make the reader think without over-analyzing anything in the text. Even the references in theatre and song that dot the text have meaning aside from the obvious.

A spot on the keeper shelf is nothing to this book. Really, I could give it a whole wall and it would not be enough. I loved everything about it; plot, writing, characters, themes...This book has it all. Even at hardcover, I would not hesitate to pick this book up. I would tell anyone to read it, just for the sweet romance and the idea of learning more about yourself and the people you know and love.

Reviewed by: John Jacobson, aka "R.J. Jacobs"
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Amy's family has fallen apart since her father was killed in a car accident. Her brother turned to drugs and alcohol and is now in rehab, her mother is desperate to get away from the memories and is determined to move to the other side of the country and Amy is just trying to get through one day at a time. She feels disconnected from her old life, is unable to open up to her friends and she blames herself for her father's death. The last thing she wants to take a five day road trip, especially when just the thought of getting in a car sends her into a panic. Even worse is the fact that she will be driven by the son of her mum's friend, she hasn't seen Roger for years and is dreading the thought of being in a confined space with a complete stranger. Roger isn't too keen on the idea either and the last thing he intends to do is follow the strict route that Amy's mother has planned for them, if you're taking a road trip you can at least make an adventure out of it.

I was talking with several other bloggers about road trip books and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour was one that came highly recommended by everyone who had read it so of course I had to read it. As a Brit I'm fascinated by the idea of doing a road trip across the US. I actually find it hard to comprehend the distances people travel in America to get from one side of the states to the other though. To put it into perspective for my US friends we can travel from Land's End (the very bottom of England) to John o' Groats (the very top of Scotland) in less than 16 hours and that is the furthest you can drive in a straight line before hitting water at either end of the journey! The trip that Amy & Roger take is probably three times that distance and they complete it in about a week which I think is pretty impressive when only one of them is driving (I consider the 5 hours it takes to get from London to Devon a long journey LOL!). Anyway, I absolutely loved getting to take this trip with them, Morgan Matson describes the scenery beautifully and the little hints about good places to stop for food or must see tourist sites made me desperately want to book flights, hire a car and follow in their footsteps!

Amy and Roger start out as complete strangers who are reluctant to be spending so much time together but as they get to know each other they realise how much they have in common and begin to open up to each other. I loved the way their friendship slowly develops into something more, it all happens at a realistic pace and never once felt forced or rushed. With Roger's help Amy starts to overcome her anxiety issues and remember the girl she used to be before her father's accident, she will never be quite the same but she really does start to face her problems head on instead of burying them away. I'll admit that I was a little worried about Roger's stalker potential in the beginning. The way he was constantly trying to call his ex-girlfriend even though she was obviously ignoring him came across as a little creepy but thankfully his behaviour doesn't carry on for too long as he starts to realise how wrong they were for each other. He really grew on me as I got to know him better and I loved the way he was so patient and understanding with Amy, he really did help her come to terms with her father's death and she desperately needed a friend who was able to make her open up about what had happened to him. They actually make a really sweet couple but their romance doesn't take over the story and the focus is much more on friendship, family, growing up and forgiving yourself.

One of my favourite things about the book was all the little added extras that are included. As they travel Amy keeps a journal full of photos, postcards, receipts, playlists, drawings and much more and these pages are re-created throughout the book helping to make the story come to life. I loved the fun facts that she writes about each of the states they travel through and I actually ended up getting out a map so I could see exactly where they went. This was definitely one of my favourite road trip books so I can understand why all my friends recommended it so highly. If you're looking for a coming of age story, a fab road trip book and a really sweet romance all rolled into one then you can't go wrong with Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. This is definitely one for my keeper shelf and I'm already looking forward to reading Morgan Matson's next book Second Chance Summer!
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