I have a wonderful book to share with you. It's everything YA should be--graphic--as in graphic novel--, thought provoking, honest and just plain fun. And I just love the cover--the gorgeous font of the title just screams read me!
Summary from Goodreads
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 3rd 2011
by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
I have to start off my saying, I strongly recommend you read a hard copy of this novel. It's a novel by every definition of the word, but the author also includes photos and drawings that contribute to the story telling, and I have no idea how those would look on an ereader. Personally, I thought they added a level of realism to the book that was telling, and made the book that much more compelling.
Amy has suffered a tremendous loss in her life. The death of her father has turned her world upside down, but Amy has refused to deal with it, and I think so has everyone else in her family. Her mother decides everyone needs a new start, and while this isn't necessarily a bad idea, I think her sense of timing is just god awful. Amy is left alone in her childhood home that is for sale while her mother moves across the country for a new job, and her brother is in rehab. And Amy is suddenly asked to transport their car across the country with Roger, someone she barely remembers. You'd think Amy would be really angry. Or really b*tchy. Or something. But she seems passive about it, although nervous and mildly annoyed.
When Roger and Amy decide not to follow her mother's carefully planned road trip that will take them from California to Connecticut in four days, I think they expected to simply take a more scenic route. But both of them start on a journey that is entirely unexpected. It is the journey of healing. Of dealing with loss, guilt and learning how to say good-bye. The people they encounter on the way are the sort you would meet on a road trip of this kind: eclectic and oddly easy to talk to, as though despite the huge differences between you and them, you could tell them anything. And that's what Amy does, she begins to talk about her father again. She unearths herself--not bringing back the Before Amy, but rather, a new Amy. And as for Roger, well Roger does some growing up in this novel as well. As much as he draws Amy forward in her healing by accepting her and standing by her, by never asking questions but waiting for her to be ready, he also learns that while life may be wide open and full of possibilities, that there are times when it's time to say good-bye.
The romance element in this novel is perfect--just the right amount for two people who hardly know each other and yet are forced to spend days in very close quarters. But it also struck me as a bit epic too. Roger points out that they can't make promises to one another, but it's a type of relationship that will transcend time, because I suspect no matter what happens, that Roger and Amy will always be the best kind of friends. And that's why I'm perfectly fine with this rather open ended ending.
The writing was straight forward, polished, and I loved the way Maston uses flashbacks. She reveals a lot in short scenes, which makes the novel poignant without detracting from Amy and Roger's adventures on the road. I'd highly recommend this novel for anyone who loves travel, imagery, stories of life journeys and those who just plain out love realistic fiction.
4 glittering stars