I knew that I was right when I decided to save this book for summer because it proved to be the perfect summer book - even though it was read during a cold, rainy day.
Amy Curry's normal, somewhat boring life ends when her father dies in a car accident during a normal, boring afternoon. The life she has known - her parents, her brother, he friends and school as well as her home in California - all start to feel very distant suddenly. Her father is gone, her mother does not talk about what happened, her brother is sent to rehab, she does not know how to talk to her friends and on top of everything, her mother decides to sell their house in California and move the family to Connecticut. Amy is too sad and too numb to even complain too much. After a lonely month spent in California, her mother tells her that Amy won't be able to fly to Connecticut after all, but that she would have to drive from there to Connecticut. But since Amy is not ready to drive after the accident, her mother has asked Roger, her friend's son, to drive the car and Amy across the country. So now Amy is not only fatherless and forced to live in a new time, but also forced to take a road trip with a complete stranger. Yay.
Roger has promised to spend the summer at East Coast with his father. But that is not the only reason he wants to hit the road - there is someone he has left things open with, someone he really needs to talk with. When Amy presents him with the detailed plan for the trip, Roger suggests that they take a little detour. Even though Amy is used to being the one who goes by the rules, she agrees. That agreement leads to a wonderful journey filled with important places, several fast food restaurants, the loneliest road in America, new people and most importantly, new friendships and relationships. Both Amy and Roger have something they need to sort out, something they have to go through before they can open up for new possibilities and relationships.
I loved this book so much. As someone who has also lost her father, I felt such a connection to Amy and what she feels and I honestly found myself crying several times while I was reading this, just because the feelings of Amy where so easy to relate with and they managed to bring up some memories. Amy feels like she hasn't quite been herself since her father died, but as more time goes on and as she opens up for new experiences and possibilities, she sees glimpses of her old self coming back while she is also introduced to a new, better side of herself. Roger is such a sweetheart and I pretty much instantly fell in love with him. Yes, he is hot, but he is so much more than that. He is kind, funny, kind of nerdy, easy to talk with and most importantly, he really seems to care about Amy. The relationship that develops between the two really takes its time, which I really liked, because it makes the story so much more realistic.
I instantly fell in love with Matson's style of writing. She has created characters that are funny and honest, raw and real. The dialogue flows well and you really feel like you're actually there, listening to these people talk. The road trip is well established and the text really takes the reader along on the journey with these characters. I have always wanted to do a road trip in US and it actually almost felt like I was on one, even though in reality I was in my living room in rainy Finland.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this novel where the little scrapbook segments featuring pictures, shop receipts, playlists etc. These little details add so much to the story and they just are super fun to look at. Also the chapter openings with quotations and song lyrics are really well chosen and fit so well to the story. I actually found the some of the playlists from 8tracks - you can access them for here if you are interested.
I really don't have anything negative to say about this book. I talked about this with a couple of people who have also read it and they said they would have liked maybe a one more chapter to the end, but for me, the final scrapbook item at the last page felt like the perfect finish. This book definitely became one of my favorites of all time and I'm so happy that I own a copy of it so I can reread it whenever I feel like doing so. A wonderful, honest, romantic and funny summer read I want to recommend for EVERYONE!