Tag Archives: Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan MatsonTitle: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Publishing Info: May 4, 2010 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 28, 2017
Related Posts: Since You've Been Gone

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her 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.

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I’ve actually only read one other Morgan Matson book so far (SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE) and I’ve found her writing to be fun, enjoyable, a true to real life. I basically have all of her books on my TBR so when this book came up in an Audible sale, it was a quick pick for me and I was excited to read it!

AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR was so cute and also very deep at the same time. I didn’t expect tragedy to be involved (no spoiler — it’s why the book happens in the first place) so I might not have picked it up so eagerly if I had known that but I also like that I didn’t know that because I could have missed a really wonderful book. I tend to trust authors who have good reviews or whose works I’ve already enjoyed so I just kind of jumped into this one and I’m really glad I did! The book starts after the death of Amy’s father and I’ve been avoiding a lot of books surrounding death/tragedy/disease, etc to keep things positive and fluffy and happy and surprisingly, this book was both at the same time.

I loved the dynamic between Amy and Roger and how it grew throughout the book. The two start out as near strangers (they used to know each other as kids but barely) and despite only really knowing each other for a few days, their feelings for each other didn’t feel like instalove. Being stuck in a car with someone for several days allows you to get to know them and know them well within a short period of time so I found that quite realistic and positively adorable. They had their shared interests, their differences, a few quarrels, and a lot of really cute moments. I really enjoyed how their friendship and relationship developed as the story went on!

There was also so much more to this book than just the romance. Amy is forced to embark upon this road trip to take the family car from her old home in California to their new home in Connecticut, but she also makes some important life decisions on her own (and with some enlightenment from Roger) and really matures along the way. The death of her father has severely shaken the family, of course, and Amy starts to come to terms with his death, how it happened, and what it means to continue on with life and how to enjoy it without him there. She learns what it means to be an adult and take on responsibility for your actions, how to make better relationships, and how to make decisions that are best for her, even if they’re not the easiest ones to make.

I loved the depth in this story and the character growth while still having that fluffy, happy feeling of a super cute relationship. AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR was such a fun and wonderful read — oh, and let’s not forgot about the high school/college flashback with all of the amazing road trip playlists! Morgan Matson incorporated music in this book in the form of playlists and everything from Amy’s musicals to Roger’s indie rock took me back to 2010 (when this book was written — I didn’t realize it was that old!) and had me feeling some epic nostalgia too!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Serious & syrupy. I loved the serious and sweet combo! This book did an amazing job at keeping things realistic and meaningful while still incorporating and adorable lightness to it.
Left Me Wanting More: Morgan Matson novels! This was only my second book from Morgan Matson and it was so much fun! I definitely want to keep reading through her entire collection.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I get the Morgan Matson appeal! This book was so well done and I’m so glad I finally read it! It has a little bit of everything for every fan of contemp YA.

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BOOKS LIKE AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR

          

Book and a Beverage | Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Things have quieted down a bit for the Book and a Beverage interview feature (although that’s partly my fault with not being as active as I once was on the blog!) but I still love the idea of a book and beverage feature. I was thinking about book and coffee pairings as I was drinking my iced coffee one afternoon and I thought it would be fun to keep the book & beverage theme going by actually pairing books with beverages that go with them! 

BOOK AND A BEVERAGE: AMY AND ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR

I recently read AMY AND ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR (on audio) and it was such a fun read! It was meaningful and yet light all at the same time with some really great characters, a fun road trip, and so much more.

With any great road trip, you HAVE to have snacks and Amy and Roger favor root beer and cream soda. I thought it would be fun to do a Book and a Beverage feature with some of the “soft drinks” (UGH I call it pop but you don’t pluralize pop to “pops” so “types of pop”? Urgh. It’s all wrong) throughout the states that they visited!

image and info from MITCHELL MAGLIO/THRILLIST

I did a quick internet search and Thrillist posted the most popular sodas (also painful to say for a midwestern kid) across the US! I wouldn’t say that they’re actually the most popular (the one for Illinois isn’t very popular over the normal name-brands) but they feature some local items which is even better! Plus, someone made a Google map so you can check out the actual trip Amy and Roger took (I can’t find credit on here but this is awesome)! Here are some pertinent to Amy and Roger’s trip:

  • California: A&W Root Beer
  • Nevada: Red Bull
  • Utah: Sprite
  • Colorado: Izze
  • Kansas: Lost Trail Root Beer
  • Missouri: IBC Root Beer
  • Indiana: Triple XXX
  • Tennessee: RC Cola
  • Kentucky: Ale-8-One
  • North Carolina: Cheerwine
  • Virginia: Cheerwine (yes, both NC and VA)
  • Maryland: Shasta
  • New Jersey: Boylan’s
  • Pennsylvania: A-Treat
  • Connecticut: Foxon Park

Do you have a favorite local soft drink or beverage? I noticed some of these weren’t just sodas (like Red Bull and maybe a few others that I’m not familiar with) but it was so much fun to see the local variety! Amy and Roger represented through fast food restaurants instead of soda brands but this was perfect for a Book and a Beverage feature!


What beverage would you pair with AMY AND ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR? Do you love root beer or cream soda? Do you have a favorite local beverage?? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson

Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan MatsonTitle: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Publishing Info: May 6, 2014 by Source: Audible
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 17, 2015
Related Posts: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um...
Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?

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SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE was actually my first Morgan Matson book (yes, yes, I know)!  I had purchased the audio a few weeks prior to reading it and when it was time to for a new audiobook and I happened to be in a contemporary mood, the timing was right to start SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE!

I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Having never read one of her books before, I was going in a little blind with no knowledge of Morgan Matson’s writing style or what might pass for a typical character or concept. All I knew was that she’s a fan-favorite and I felt a lot of pressure to enjoy the book (especially seeing it has a 4.21 rating on Goodreads which is pretty high), so when I started listening to the book and found myself struggling, I really started to worry.

I really thought I was going to be the black sheep on this book. I had a really hard time with the beginning, especially with the characters. I never made it to the point where I thought I would put the book down, but it was really just a middle-of-the-road contemporary read for about the entire first half. I really had a hard time with Emily and how awkward she was and I found her actions cringe-worthy to witness. Other characters didn’t quite click for me either. Emily’s parents seemed silly and like characterizations rather than real people. Collins was goofy and seemed like a bit too much for me and I really didn’t care for him either. And even though Sloane wasn’t physically present in the book at the time, the flashbacks to her interactions with Emily bothered me as well. The writing just didn’t work well for me throughout the first half and scenes felt forced instead of just playing out naturally. BUT the good thing was that I had plenty of friends who had enjoyed the book and promised me it would get better so despite my hesitations, I was ready for the book to improve!

And those friends turned out to be right! I finally found some cute moments between Emily and Frank about halfway through and really started to enjoy their friendship and whatever might be developing between them… then I started to enjoy their relationship even more and before I knew it, the whole book was finally taking shape. Characters really started to feel real instead of just a collection of traits on a page. Relationships were really blossoming — not just between Emily and Frank. I loved the new friendships that Emily was forming in Sloane’s absence and really all of the characters grew quite a bit. I was really impressed with how much each one had changed and felt so much more realistic, but I was sad that I had felt so disconnected from them in beginning. I felt like the growth was exponential but I had that lingering memory of how much they had annoyed me in the first half of the book.

I did enjoy the second half of the book but I just wish I had been able to feel those things in the beginning! Not to mention I felt like one scene was directly out of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (although it’s not that like scene hasn’t happened anywhere else… but I’m so ANNA-obsessed that I couldn’t NOT see it) and a bit of a stunt there at the end that was totally insane for someone Emily’s age (I wonder if there were any consequences for that…) but I just let it go and rolled with it.

I was very on the fence with how I felt about Emily and Sloane’s friendship. I honestly don’t really think I’ve had a friendship like that. A lot of my close friendships were a group of three of us (or more) and I feel like I didn’t have ONE best friend that I spent all of time with who was just MY best friend. Sometimes their friendship felt too clingy for me (mostly likely because I didn’t have the same experience so I didn’t quite relate) and I also didn’t like how Sloane felt so much more dominant than Emily (although I totally understand that). I felt like their friendship has some great moments and other times, I didn’t like it at all.

I guess you could say it was an interesting read for me! I actually kind of liked that my opinion on the book didn’t seem to align with so many others because I was able to have my own take on the book. Sometimes when I love the same book that everyone else loves, it isn’t that the book doesn’t deserve it but sometimes I feel like my opinion isn’t unique so it was fun to bounce my reactions off of other people and see how our feelings differed. I was hesitant in the beginning but upon finishing, I’m excited to read those other Matson books that I have on my shelves! I’m not sure they’re high-priority or that I will love them like everyone else loves her work but I’m also open to leaving my expectations at the door and seeing where the books take me!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

since you've been gone goodreads

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Emily // Character Obsessions: Sloane, the list, trying new things, comfort zones.
I had a really hard time with Emily in the beginning. What’s funny is that at times, I think she reminded me of myself when I was her age… and maybe that’s why it was so painful to see how awkward she was! But I also feel like it’s very hard to read such awkwardness in the pages of a book. For some reason it just makes everything feel awkward and I think it had an effect on the writing for me which is a bummer. I really DID like how much she grew throughout the book, though. The progression felt natural and… actually… I think she needed to be without Sloane to see that it was possible. Sloane was the dominant personality in their friendship and anything daring that Emily would have done with her would just have been her acting under Sloane’s influence and safety net. Even though “the list” came from Sloane and they were her ideas, I think Emily was able to grow not only by taking chances and doing things to prove that she could be brave and have fun outside of her comfort zone but that she could really do things on her own and have friends with different kinds of encouragement and support.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Character growth. As much as I was irritated with the characters in the beginning, I was really impressed with how much they changed and grew throughout the course of the book! I really enjoyed where each one ended up at the close of the book.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. I felt a bit sad that it took me so long to make that connection with the characters. The awkwardness put a damper on our relationship and I was just bummed that I didn’t really connect until the last half of the book!

Addiction Rating
Read it

This wouldn’t be a book to purchase for me, but I think it’s a good read! I really did like the messages about friendship in the end and though I was expecting it to more of a lesson revolving around Emily’s friendship with Sloane, I think it was much more pertinent to her friendship with Frank, Collins, and Dawn. It also was a great story of learning to stand up for yourself and really figure out who YOU are and not who you are with someone else.

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BOOKS LIKE SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

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