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.
Discussion Questions for Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
1) Define “epic.” What made Amy & Roger’s road trip epic? In what ways was it epic for Amy, and in what ways was it epic for Roger?
2) Morgan Matson incorporates receipts, playlists, emails, notes, etc. throughout the novel. How did this influence how you read the story? Did you like this technique? Discuss other ways Morgan Matson made the book especially appealing and engaging to the reader.
3) Each chapter begins with a quote. To what extent did you keep these in mind as you read the pages that followed? How did the quotes serve to propel the story? Share some of your personal favorite quotes, and what they mean to you.
4) Compare and contrast “regular Amy” to “Amy!” What does the exclamation point in the latter connote? Do you think “Amy!” could ever really exist? Do you ever feel like you could have another side to you, too?
5) How did the flashback scenes in Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour help you better understand Amy and her family? What did you learn about her relationships with her mother, brother, and father? How did these flashbacks make you feel, as a reader?
6) We don’t hear the details of Amy’s father’s death until the very end of the book. Why did Morgan Matson keep these details from us for so long? What effect did this have on how you interpreted Amy’s situation?
7) Throughout Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, Roger is trying to convince Amy to buy a new pair of sunglasses. She finally buys a pair when she and Roger are visiting Graceland. What do the sunglasses symbolize over the course of the novel?
8) The first time Amy said, “my father died” was to Walcott, a guy she’d just met, whom she probably wouldn’t see again. Why did she choose to open up to Walcott? Conversely, why was Amy avoiding Julia, her best friend?
9) Amy and Roger experienced a journey together, literally and metaphorically. Describe their respective journeys, and how you think (or don’t think) each completed his/her journey. When was a time that you have embarked on a journey? How did you measure whether or not your journey had been competed?
10) What was Bronwyn’s role in Amy’s “journey?” Do you agree with what she did with Amy’s clothes? How would you have reacted, if you were Amy?
11) Roger is fascinated with world explorers. In what ways is he an explorer, himself? What do you think this character trait suggests about Roger?
12) What qualifies as home? Consider Walcott’s explanation: “You don’t have to go away to know where your home is . . . Everyone knows where their home is. And if you don’t, you’ve got problems.” Now think about Drew’s theory: “I guess then your home is the people in it . . . Your family.” What does home mean to Amy? Why does the realtor’s sign, “Welcome HOME” bother her so much? What does home mean to you?
13) Amy and Lucien share an important scene together while in Kentucky. In what ways did Lucien invoke a turning point in Amy’s journey?
14) At what point do you think Amy and Roger’s relationship changed? Were you surprised?
15) Discuss the ending of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. Do you think Morgan Matson leaves us hanging, or do you consider the story to have been “wrapped up” sufficiently? What do you think happens with Amy and Roger, down the line?
This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Morgan Matson is a New York Times bestselling author. She received her MFA in writing for children from the New School and was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start author for her first book, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, which was also recognized as an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults. Her second book, Second Chance Summer, won the California State Book Award. She lives in Los Angeles. Visit her at MorganMatson.com.