Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: May 4, 2010
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Road Trip
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
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 think I may just have to add Morgan Matson to my list of favorite authors.
I don't know how she does it. I've read multiple books centered around road trips, and only a few of them have lived up to my expectations. Somehow, this novel has been added to that list.
It grabbed my attention from the beginning, partly because I could relate to the aspect of moving and partly because of the narration. Amy was somewhat typical, but her voice and characteristics separated her from other narrators of contemporary novels I've read. She grows so much by the end of the novel, and I found my heart breaking and myself smiling while reading.
Just a warning: this book will make you cry. Possibly just as much as Matson's second novel, Second Chance Summer. She has a talent for making people cry. Then again, I'm a crier, so it depends on if you get easily upset by the smallest little things that happen to characters you're reading about, or if it doesn't usually bother you. But when I read, if a character is crying, I am too.
Amy and Roger's relationship is slow and sweet, and somehow surprising even though we knew what was coming. This was an aspect I really enjoyed. They also had somewhat of a past together, but not enough to make them head-over-heels in love with each other the moment they meet again. The whole aspect of Hadley - and Roger's seemingly unfaltering love for her - really added to the story, and Roger's growth as a character as well. Even the supporting characters were well-written.
The only problem I had was the ending. I felt it was sort of abrupt, and though I'm aware Matson probably intended for it to be that way, I thought it took away from the story.
Aside from that one point, I loved this book, and I'm so glad I discovered Morgan Matson. I'll be reading all of her books in the future!