Walcott: Tomorrow will be better.
Amy: But what if it’s not?
Walcott: Then you say it again tomorrow. Because it might be. You never know right? At some point tomorrow will be better.
Short summary: Amy’s father died, her brother is in rehab, and now her mother is relocating the family from California to Connecticut. Having moved first, mom needs Amy to bring the car over; however, due to trauma related to her father’s death, Amy doesn’t want to be behind the wheel. In comes Roger, a childhood friend who needs to visit his father in the East Coast, thus is tasked to drive the car. Though her mom has thoroughly planned their itinerary by mapping their route, booking the hotels for them, and expecting them to stick to her arrangement, the kids have their own plan. Thus begin one of the most memorable road trips ever.
Love, love, love, love this book. Perhaps one of the most enjoyable ones I have read this year.
This book definitely falls in “Book That I Wished Will Never End” category. It is the perfect Young Adult book – light, easy-to-read writing, with appealing characters and interesting storyline. I am also a sucker for travel stories, so this particular book about a long road trip across the US scores some bonus point in my book (also, bonus points for the road trip play list. You can’t have a road trip without good music!). The scrapbook elements featured in the book is also cute and interesting and I also love their encounters with the other secondary characters, especially Roger’s friends.
If you have read enough Young Adult book, you’ll find that a lot of books featured boy-meets-girl story, which I greatly enjoyed in principle, as long as the book does not feature the following:
1. when the girl immediately swooned over the guy (who is always somehow the bad boy in the neighborhood) the instant she laid eyes on him
2. the girl and boy falls crazy, crazy, crazy in love (note the emphasis on crazy) barely a few days after meeting each other
3. the boy is some hundreds-years old sparkling vampire and the girl is the most helpless heroin ever (yeah, I am talking about Twilight)
Yes, I love a story that makes me all giddy and warms my heart, but an author should at least establish a good reason/foundation/storyline on how the characters become attracted towards each other. Don’t just put a hot boy with issues and a girl who somehow always thought she was not pretty when she actually is and expect us to believe they are in love when nothing barely happens between them. Unless the writing is exceptional and poetic (case in point: Lauren Oliver’s Delirium, which fulfill the first two criteria above, but I absolutely love the poetic, flowing words of the author, so I cut the book some slack) or the book features some really amazing twist in the storyline, most Young Adult book leaves me disappointed when it comes to dealing with this instant love crap.
So that’s why Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is rather refreshing. Both characters are dealing with their own personal baggage in the story, and these become a good window in learning about their personality and dilemma. The setup was perfect – spending four days in a car ride with someone, you’ll bound to learn a lot about the other person – thus the friendship that grows between the main characters is structured in a believable way, that towards the end, I was the one willingly wanting for something to happen between the two of them. It was as if you are rooting for your two best friends, who you can see are just so perfect for each other, to fall in love.
(They do did something that I think is rather soon at that point of their relationship, which I am not going to elaborate here for it is a spoiler. That's my only beef with the story, but I'll forgive that)
If you like this kind of Young Adult novel or just looking for something light and fun (but not crappy) to read, I highly recommend this book. I find Ms. Matson is such a good storyteller too, so I am looking forward to check out her future book as well.