Author: Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Description: 344 pages, Young Adult Fiction
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.
To The Stars Through Adversity
I absolutely relished in the layout of this book. The lack of character conceivability and authenticity is one of the most blatant predicaments I’ve bewailed and deplored for hours on end, and because this one had pictures of landscapes and receipts, featured playlists and e-mails, those issues remained nonentities. Though it sometimes felt as if this book lacked for romance, I absolutely reveled in the scenes between Amy and Roger, who were facing individual struggles but were constantly behind each other’s backs. They were supportive and genuinely cared for each other, though never once crossed the line into intrusion. Though the romantic build up between them kept getting tauntingly delayed from chapter to chapter, I completely adored the consecutive scenes that got them into awkward situations hinting at the budding relationship. For once, most gratuitously, I found the chemistry between them cute and delightful, as opposed to thrilling or swoon-worthy, in stark contrast with the heart break each of them nursed all through the detour. Overall, I found this book quite the charming read, earning my doubtless approval for a debut novel. Once again for Matson’s future works, color me enthusiastic.
Recovery From Loss
Because of her father’s death, Amy constantly made attempts at shutting herself out and disconnecting from the rest of civilization— and though her hesitancy to detach herself from the past at times made her seem so wishy-washy, I slowly leveled to perfect understanding of her struggles, and became more and more appreciative of her gradual independence. Unlike the sweeping plague in contemporary novels that depicts most of the heroines incapable of progress without their counterparts, rendering them little more than vexatious (and much to my chagrin), I absolutely doted over Amy Curry’s character. Though it was more than once implied that her past self wasn’t entirely wholesome, I found her brave and confident as she stood up for her own ideals like never before. She tried to grasp the reasoning behind the otherwise disagreeable behavior of the people around her, and she never once broke down or whined interminably, come hell or high water. I also liked that Amy never tried to question Roger or doubt his intentions, only humorously so. In spite of the fact that I never really felt the affliction pertinent to the recent tragedy, I still adored Amy and thought she was constantly making the right decisions, by opening up to Roger, but only once she knew he was trustworthy. I never once got peeved or annoyed at her hesitance and indecision (which I attributed to the reasonable discomfort with the gorgeous stranger that threatened to unravel her), and with regards to America from The Selection (which I read a week before), who was irritating from cover to cover, I found complete refuge in the fact that Amy was astounding by comparison.
Heart Break and Happiness
I was absolutely smitten by Roger’s character. He was admittedly intimidating at first, mostly because of the way Amy perceived him. However, I liked the way he handled Amy with constant care not to hurt or surprise her, and though he remained an enigma to me for most of the book, since he never made much of a move, I found it quite refreshing to witness a blossoming, untainted friendship. I don’t normally pine for gorgeous, jock-type love interests, and though Roger was a perfect gentleman in essence, I still found it quite hard at first to believe how willing he was to let Amy tag along. However, I grew increasingly attracted to him, as he was a cheerful and humorous person who tended to find the good in all things miserly. I also happen to have found a curious similarity with him in terms of his taste for music, and though that in itself is a shallow factor, I would ostensibly have gone with him on that road trip, not once complaining about him or his sound. Once again, he’s an element to this book that I dig, and completely.
An Epic Detour
Though I found the ending to this book quite weak as compared to most of the fantasy novels I’ve read (that refused to conclude without a bang, or with tears strewn across my face), I was happy with the way this book ultimately turned out. Though I don’t read many books under a contemporary genre, I didn’t find myself that much bothered by the fact that the bulk of the book contained little to no suspense. Honestly, the slow and gradual journey towards Amy’s recovery, and Roger’s redemption was enough to keep me flipping the pages. Overall, this book was a light and fun read that made me want even more to drive across a country I’ve never even been to. I admittedly couldn’t relate to either of their struggles, though I found myself immersed in this book almost completely feeling their pain and emotion. If you’re looking for a book that will surely tug at your heartstrings and make you fall slowly in love, I insist that you try this one out.
What do you think? Tell me in the comments below 🙂