Release Date: Already out!
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Add it: Goodreads
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 confess: I wasn't totally hooked on this novel when I first started. I didn't dislike it, I just wasn't really connecting with the story or the characters. But something happened as I read on. I found myself sitting in the backseat of the car, leaning forward into the front (I know, I know, seat belt safety!), urging Amy and Roger to drive faster. Turn here. Hey, I like this new guy! Great, you're now friends. Come on already, kiss you two! No, no, take another detour, I don't want it to end just yet! Somewhere along the way I became completely invested in their story, not only the physical journey they embarked on, but the much more personal one.
Amy's father recently died. Her twin brother's in rehab and she's been left on her own for the past month while her mother's setting up their new home in Connecticut. She doesn't want to leave California, so it's with reluctance (well, at least he's cute...) that she gets in the car with Roger, a childhood family friend she barely remembers, who's to act as chauffeur to get her to Connecticut, since he was headed there anywhere. They set out on the boring roadtrip Amy's mother mapped to get them from Point A to Point B in the shortest time possible. And so begins a detour that changes things completely.
From Nevada to Kansas, Yosemite National Park to Neverland, all set to the backdrop of a killer soundtrack, two teenagers not only face the loneliest road in America, but the tangled mess of their hearts. What makes this book so 'epic' is not the places they see or the people they meet (but it certainly does add to it's awesomeness), but the emotional roadtrip they take. Neither set out with the intention of completely changing their lives. They both had their issues, both broken in ways mere days stuck in a car, travelling across the country would not fix. But somehow it does. This trip forces them both to look within and deal with all the crap they've allowed to hitch-hike with them out of California. Amy in particular had shut herself away from the world after her father's accident, but as the novel progresses she slowly begins to open herself up, let people in, face the past and live life again.
The romance isn't central and steamy, but it's realistic and heartwarming. It's nice to see the bond and trust that gradually forms between the pair and the slow realisation that something deeper is developing. You can sense that first kiss building - soon, soon, soon, come on, kiss already! It was sweet. and smile inducing, as was the unique inclusion of snapshots, receipts, drawings and all the little trinkets collected along their journey, which added a fun and realistic atmosphere to the novel.
A simple detour sparked an incredible change in both characters lives - they saw new places, made new friends, let go of the past and found a possible future in one another. This book made me want to go on a roadtrip of my own. And also to wear only socks the next time I visit a supermarket, preferably late at night so there's fewer people to give me odd stares ;) Amy & Roger's Epic Detour is a perfect read for anyone who loves a contemporary, a drive across the country, people named Edmund and Hillary, tales of self-discovery and a good old' game of Twenty questions.