Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's Never Goodbye

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Written by: Morgan Matson

Released: May 4, 2010 by Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Summary: 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 was a little worried going into this one. I think that I thought that it would be more along the lines of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist with the alternating chapter viewpoints; of which I am generally not a fan. But I was happy to discover that it was all Amy narrative all the time.

I loved that this was a book about absolutely noting and yet everything at the same time. It took the trivial problems that people experience during their everyday life like love, loss, regret, mistakes, family, and friends and showed just how important they are to a single person when it pertains to their life. This book also showed the other side, the side of the people who love you and help you move past everything that’s blocking your path to a fuller life.

Amy is clearly troubled even from the opening page. Mourning aside for her father’s death, there’s guilt there that you can’t exactly pinpoint the exact reason. Sure, you know that it has to do with her father’s death but with so many variables unknown at first, you can only speculate exactly why. But she’s shut herself completely away from everyone and everything except the school play and become a bit of a hermit. And then enters Roger.

In the beginning, though I knew that love would bloom by the last page, Roger was just as broken as Amy though in a different way. While Amy’s entire world was shattered, Roger was dealing with only a broken heart and a slightly bruised ego. Both were enough to damage the psyche of each and together they are, by the end of the novel, able to patch back together their lives and move on while still keeping the important things in their hearts.

After reading this book, I completely want to go on a road trip and see the North American sights while straying from my designated path. I want to throw the planned itinerary out the window and sleep on a dorm room floor of friend of a friend and eat crumbly burgers on a golf course in Kansas. But while this is a book about a road trip, I think that it’s also about finding your own path in life and branching off the beaten trail in order to find it.

The writing in this book – not to mention the clever layout with the snapshots and postcards with the music playlists and everything else – betrays the thought that it was a debut author. If I hadn’t of known that this was a 2010 debut, I would have been positive that there was more out there by Morgan Matson. As is, I can’t wait to read her next book and this one is a 9/10 for me.

"Tomorrow will be better.”
“But what if it’s not?” I asked.
“Then you say it again tomorrow. Because it might be. You never know, right? At some point, tomorrow will be better."
-from the book

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