The premise of “Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour” is simple: Amy, the main character and narrator of this book, has to move cross country, and drives her mother’s car from her sunny, Southern California home to Stanwich, Connecticut with Roger Sullivan, a former neighbor and old family friend.
But this book is full of so much raw emotion — so many moments that will make your heart break, and so many that will put it back together again.
The trip gets complicated, however, when she realizes that Roger has done some growing up over the years, as he has become wildly attractive with a wonderful personality. This throws a wrench into Amy’s plan of gliding through the trip in the same, comfortably numb state she’s been in since the death of her father three months prior to the start of the novel.
Amy’s mother has planned out stops in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Indiana, Ohio and finally Connecticut. Amy and Roger revise it, finding that the pre-picked spots are a little boring for an epic, cross- country road trip. Amy and Roger stop in places like Yosemite, Colorado Springs, Wichita, Louisville and Graceland, and document it all in the book with receipts and a travel journal.
To add to Amy’s emotional whirlwind, her twin brother, Charlie, has just entered a rehab facility in North Carolina for the drug addiction that spiraled out of control after his father died. Amy is upset, and the trip helps her comes to terms with not only her father’s death, but also the way that Charlie handled it.
Amy is damaged, in the way that many of us that have lost someone are.
Her father died in a car accident, so the mere act of being in a car causes her to be uneasy. Roger wakes Amy up in the way that every numb person needs. He reminds her that there are better things out there. Roger isn’t as put together as he seems, though. Behind his easy, carefree exterior, he is just as damaged as she is. Together, they mend their broken parts and learn how to live without the people they have lost.
This book, to put it simply, will take your emotions on the best rollercoaster of your life, and it’s definitely something that is worth the read. Amy is a relatable character, and she feels so lifelike that you can imagine yourself being friends with her in real life. Roger is so natural, so easy with himself and laid back, he’s the perfect boy next door that everyone knows.
Even the background characters are wonderful. Amy’s mother is protective and concerned about her, with motherly love oozing out of her; Amy’s best friend will make you think of your own best friend; and the people encountered along on many misadventures seem genuine and real.
As with many good reads, there are beautiful quotes that will make you want to highlight your book so that you can remember the words:
“We can’t know what’s going to happen. We can just try to figure it out as we go along.”
“It was like a bomb had just gone off in the kitchen, and instead of cleaning up the rubble, people were stepping around it and eating mini-quiche.”
“The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren’t looking for them.”
Despite the heavy subject matter and the serious tone that it occasionally takes, this book is full of lighthearted moments that will make you want to drop everything and go on a road trip.
Read it. This book will hit you right in the feels, but it’s so worth it. The lighthearted moments and the serious ones meld together to create an amazing book.