It has been three months since Amy Curry, 17, lost her beloved father in a car accident. Amy was driving, and feels like it was all her fault. She now refuses to drive. Her mother has decided to move from California to Connecticut, and left Amy behind to finish out the remaining month of the school year while she sets up the house. Amy is alone at the house, since her twin brother Charlie is now in a drug rehab facility in North Carolina.
Since Amy has to get herself and the car to Connecticut and she won’t drive, her mother enlists the son of an old family friend to drive her. Roger Sullivan, 19, is a freshman in college in Colorado, but needs to get to Philadelphia to spend the summer with his father. When Roger (who is much cuter than Amy remembers) arrives and sees the boring itinerary Amy’s mother has prepared, he seems disappointed. Amy is so relieved he wasn’t disappointed in her that she suggests they just go their own way: “As long as we’re there in four days, does it really matter which way we go?” Roger is delighted, and they set out to see places they always wanted to go.
They also schedule a few stops that have emotional import for them; Amy wants to go places that her father loved, and Roger wants to chase after a girl he likes who broke up with him.
Pretty soon they are off on a fantastic road trip, the details of which are interspersed with mixed media entries from Amy’s scrapbook: notes, doodles, map pages, receipts, playlists, and state trivia. As a result of spending all day and all night together, Amy and Roger get to know each other very well; help each other deal with the heartbreaks they have suffered; and work together to map out plans for better futures.
Evaluation: This is just a wonderful story. Amy’s grief is palpable, but not in a way that drags down the upbeat mood of the story. The road trip details are not only fun and interesting, but will have you salivating to make such a trip yourself. And the friendships made and romance found along the way are just perfect. A great read for all ages!
Published by Simon & Schuster BFYR, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2010
An ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Readers
Shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book Prize
A Publisher’s Weekly “Flying Start” book