“Amy Curry is not looking forward to the summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip–and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar–especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory–but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.”
Ever since I was told that I needed to work on my romance writing, I’ve always been on the look out for good love stories. And by good, I mean the non-sappy kind. Not that I have anything against them. I do read chick-lit. It’s just–well, some stories that revolve around love make me cringe–or want to barf. This book seemed a safe enough choice. And I was right. It was safe. Too safe, actually.
Whatever it is you might expect from a book that has a girl, a boy, and a road trip involved… Well, let’s just say expectations will be met. I was just hoping for the something more. And there’s none.
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour is a solid enough story; it’s about two people who are both carrying baggage, and they work through them during an impromptu road trip that starts with them going to places where they want to go–and ending up in places they needed to be in. It’s pretty paint-by-numbers, and the one plot that would make it be a little different from all the other young adult love stories sputters before dying from prolonged concealment. And by this, I’m talking about Amy’s baggage–the reason why she doesn’t want to drive.
From the get go, an intermediate reader would be able to tell the reason why Amy doesn’t want to drive. It was the how that spelled success or disaster for this secret; how the accident happened–and how the author was going to reveal it. And there’s a time limit.
Somewhere midway, I was already dreading the reveal of Amy’s baggage as it had become unnecessary weight. Reading the book, I was hoping author Morgan Matson would just let the cat out of the bag. But she doesn’t. She continues to build up Amy’s baggage as of it were something earth-shattering.
Well, it might be for Amy. And as readers, we were supposed to root for Amy. But by the time the reveal does happen, it just falls… flat. Because by then you’d have already come to terms with it. It’s just infuriating that Amy still hasn’t.
As a love story though, the book works. The author coaxes the love story between the two lead characters in such a way that it doesn’t feel forced, that makes it feel organic. And while I don’t think I learned what I was supposed to learn in reading more romantic novels, I was impressed with how the author dealt with the budding relationship of two fragile people.