Amy and Roger have been on my to read list for a while… I almost wish I would have picked it up sooner!
Amy has been living the last month alone in what used to be her home in California. The recent death of her father has torn her family apart. Her mom is in Connecticut waiting for her arrival, her brother is in rehab and they are all struggling to connect as a family. Due to the car accident(the cause of her father’s death), Amy refuses to drive which leaves her mom with limited options as to how to get her to Connecticut with her car.
Roger is an old family friend, someone who she hasn’t seen since she was much younger and when he shows up to be the driver in the very planned roadtrip from California to Connecticut Amy is pleasantly surprised.
Over the last several months, Amy has pushed everyone away. She feels like she’s to blame for her father’s death and the guilt and anger and sadness she feels is overwhelming.
Roger has his own issues – the girl he thought he was in love with up and dumped him before the end of the school year and he’s determined to find out why.
Together they decide that they are going to take an ‘epic detour’ from the carefully planned out four day trip Amy’s mom had planned for them.
I truly loved this story. To be honest, I was expecting something a bit lighter when I picked this up. Don’t get me wrong… it’s not oppressively heavy, it just touches on some pretty heavy topics. Drug use and addiction, death and tragedy. But the use of the road trip to tell the story was wonderfully done.
Through the story we get to see pictures, postcards, receipts and drawings that are all put down and saved in a travel scrapbook and the playlists… good lord I want to live in Roger’s Ipod.
Along the way both Roger and Amy come to some pretty big revelations about themselves and instead of the boring road trip they were supposed to be on it becomes a trip of letting go of things in your past that you can’t change and moving forward to make the things you do have better.
I will admit, I struggled with Amy’s mom. I can understand the sadness that she might have been dealing with, but she wasn’t there when Amy needed her most, and I feel like that was the biggest issue for Amy and why she hadn’t truly been able to forgive herself yet. The weight of the guilt and the idea in her head that her mom felt she was to blame for what happened really seemed to be the catalyst for Amy pushing everyone away.
Roger’s issues are less heavy… he was dumped by someone he thought he loved but he doesn’t know why and he’s desperate to reconnect with her and maybe work things out. Part of their epic detour includes visiting the college campus they both attended as well as heading to Louisville where she lives in the hopes that he will get the opportunity to talk to her. He learns along the way that maybe she’s not who he really thought she was.
The friendship between Amy and Roger develops slowly. I can imagine being stuck in a car with someone for days on end allows you the opportunity to really get to know someone, and Roger really doesn’t hide much from Amy other than his calls to the ex. Amy on the other hand hides as much as she can until she can’t anymore. Through endless games of 20 questions and nights spent in hotels they learn a lot about each other as well.
What was supposed to be a simple trip turns into an adventure where they meet new and interesting people and see things that they might never have made the time to see, and make what could possibly be a life changing friendship along the way.
I will say this. I kind of hated Roger’s reaction at the end. Don’t get me wrong. I totally understand it. It makes sense and works especially because she’s in high school in CT and he’ll be back at school in Colorado soon. I just personally hated it. I felt like he was very ‘what will be will be’ about it instead of making me (and probably Amy) more secure in the idea that he might want to have more.
But I absolutely loved the way Amy took charge at the end with her mother. She wanted her life back and she was going to do whatever it takes to get it. Even if it meant pushing back against her mom and demanding that they feel … whatever they might be feeling, together.
I would have liked to see her reach out to her friend that had been trying to contact her though to be honest. I didn’t understand why she was mentioned if we weren’t going to see her attempt to reach out to her to be honest.
Definitely pick this one up if you’re looking for something that’s a god mix of heavy and light with that road trip feel… it definitely lives up to the title “Epic” … plus – make sure you have all the music that Roger lists in his playlists. (I totally wanna make out with him just based on his music choices.)