Amy hasn’t been able to get behind the wheel of a car since the accident but her mother is moving her across the country, from California to the East Coast, and she needs someone to deliver their car. So she turns to the son of a family friend, Roger, who Amy vaguely remembers from when they were little. But, really, he’s a complete stranger who she’s going to have to spend days with, shut together in confined quarters. And Roger has his own ideas about the route, not exactly what Amy’s mother had planned for them…
This was such a fun book, but with a little slice of serious at the core. I loved the road trip aspect, it kinda felt a little like a travel book at the same time, especially including places I probably wouldn’t read up on that much.
Throughout the pages, there are little scraps of their travels from Amy’s travel journal. Drawings and receipts that just adds an extra something to the book. Some of these even contain a hint of humour. It also includes Roger’s playlists. Usually I am not a huge fan of music in books but actually I recognised a fair bit and it wasn’t like it had huge amount of meaning to it. They have a certain vibe which was suitable for each leg but they didn’t spend too much time analysing it all. Of course, if you’d like to listen, there’s a Spotify playlist available.
I liked that it wasn’t really a romance. Amy has bigger things on her mind than whether or not the boy sat in the driving seat is cute or not (though she does have eyes, obviously). Roger is clearly still obsessed with his ex, so much so that he completely derails the plan to go find her. The trip slowly draws her out and the growing friendship with Roger gives her a chance to work through things.
It’s made clear from the outset that Amy’s dad had died and there was some sort of accident. Amy is harbouring guilt in respect of this and as her travels trigger different memories, we learn what actually happened. It shows that grieving doesn’t mean you can’t be doing other things. The story is full of fun and adventure, even if she is sad inside. It’s possible to have both and I think that’s a wonderful message to have in a book. So often the central issue overrides everything else.
Whilst we didn’t go on a road trip as such when we went to California, there’s plenty that brought back memories. I especially liked the fact that Roger couldn’t work out how to switch the headlights on. We spent ages trying to work it out in the rented Mustang and had to pull over. It wasn’t where the manual said it was, that was for sure. Definitely one to read before embarking on your own road trip!
I know Morgan Matson has a new book out this year and I’m looking forward to reading more of her work (I think I’ve got plenty to catch up on).
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Book Source: Gift from the Other Ellie
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