Author: Morgan Matson
Summary: 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 read 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.
Why I read it: It was the beginning of my vacation. I was stuck in a car for 8 hours a day, and I needed a book to read. So where better to begin my road trip than with a road trip book! Plus, I'd just read Since You've Been Gone in May and loved it, so I needed more Morgan Matson in my life. (And technically, I just participated in #monthofMatson, which is a readathon Maureen Keavy from Youtube is hosting in June!)
Thoughts: Ohmygoodness. I am so glad I decided to start reading Morgan Matson's books. Because as much as I loved Since You've Been Gone (and I did, just check the review!), I loved Amy & Roger even more.
First of all, both Amy and Roger are truly fantastic characters. They are both well-developed and so realistic, and I love the way they play off of each other's strengths and weaknesses. There's nothing like shoving two characters into a car together for a week to make them get to know one another. They both have pasts that they have to contend with; Amy by trying to run away, and Roger by trying to relive it. And that's what makes them so compelling.
I love the road trip aspect to the story. They go to places I've never been, like Yosemite, but they also go to places close to home, like Wichita. This aspect of the book is so wonderful because Morgan Matson actually took that road trip, so she really knows what she's talking about. I especially enjoyed seeing all the places that Amy and Roger stopped to have lunch or dinner. It was fun seeing which fast food joints they'd never heard of, like Sonic and Krystal.
Which leads me to my other favorite part of this book. At the beginning of the trip, Amy receives a travel journal from her mother that she ends up using while they're on their road trip across the country. So we get to see pages of that throughout the book as well. Amy adds receipts from their meals, and pictures she takes of the scenery. And she makes a note of all the states they travel through. As a habitual list-maker, it was fun to see that side of her as well.
The book also includes some emails, and--my absolute favorite part--PLAYLISTS! Having read Since You've Been Gone, which also features playlists, it didn't come as a surprise to me, but I still love them. Especially since the playlists in A&R are all handwritten and doodled upon by either Amy or Roger. Three reasons I love playlists in books:
1) It's a huge insight into the characters. You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of music they do/don't like; it plays directly into their personality.
2) It's fun seeing music you love in a book, especially if it's a band you didn't think many people had heard of. I loved seeing We Are Scientists on one of Roger's playlists, because I don't know anyone else who likes that band! Which leads me to...
3) It's a great way to discover NEW music! If a character's playlists include a lot of music you already know and love, it's a good indicator that your taste is similar to theirs. So when you see songs or artists you don't know, it might be a good idea to check them out!
The writing is superb. I laughed out loud in several places, and I was definitely in tears at points, too. That's the mark of a good author to me; someone who can make me run the entire gamut of emotions within one book. I want a book that I come away from feeling something, and that's one thing Morgan Matson does flawlessly.
I cannot recommend this book enough. I cannot wait to get my hands on Morgan Matson's other book, Second Chance Summer, and then my collection will be complete! (For now.) Morgan is now on my auto-buy authors list, for sure!
Rating: 5/5 stars
Tell me: have YOU read this book yet? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!