Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Rec: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

So last week I went to Changing Hands Bookstore for the Summer Lovin' 2013 book tour primarily so I could hear Suzanne Young talk about her amaze-balls novel "The Program." But she's a super awesome local teacher here and wasn't able to go, so I was forced to hear other amazing authors talk instead. Of the bevy of books I purchased while I was there, the first I opted to read (to be honest, the one I picked up without hearing anybody talk about it), was Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.

In the book, Amy's been left home alone for a month in California while her mother moved to Connecticut to start a new life and her brother went to North Carolina for some *ahem* academic enrichment. While alone Amy finished the last month of her junior year, starred in one last school musical, and turned into the veal that Sandra Bullock was afraid of becoming in While You Were Sleeping. Amy's mom decides she needs the car that was left in California, and enlists her friend's college-age son Roger to drive the car and Amy across the country, in the kind of naive mistake we all wish our moms had made when we were 17. As the title suggests, Amy and Roger have an epic detour on their journey that sends Amy's mom into a fury, Roger's ex-girlfriend into a tizzy, and Amy into situations she wasn't ready to face. Also, the detour sent them on a food journey that should be recreated as a special on the Travel Network, which I would totally watch.

Matson did an amazing job toeing the line of pathetic, but not too pathetic with her characterization of Amy. She's sad, and she's angry. She's lonely, but she doesn't want to deal with people either. She's pretty, and she used to know it, but now she doesn't feel pretty, so she's not pretty anymore. Matson could also teach workshops on the slow build and slower reveal of a trauma. I'm sure I'll return again and again to this book for personal enjoyment and for a reminder on how to Do It Right.

Also, as I wrote about Amy, I thought of my favorite Jessica Riddle song, Indifference.

I promised myself I'd read a few of the other books I picked up at the Summer Lovin' Tour, before buzzing through my other Matson purchase right away, so I won't be reading Second Chance Summer right away. But I'm excited to read it, and I'm excited to read whatever Matson has next up her sleeves.

GO NOW. Read this book. Kindle link. Nook link. He's so zazzy.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Book Rec: The Program

I actually finished The Program almost a week ago. It was released on April 30 and I devoured it in two sittings. Well, layings. Whatever. It's taken me this long to find it in me to talk about it, and I'm still not sure if I can do the novel justice. To be perfectly honest, I've had this window open for over an hour, and I just keep struggling to find the right words to use to talk about it. With my friends I can just shove my hands in their faces and say "read it" a lot and that works.

This is a little trickier...

In Suzanne Young's novel, suicide is the epidemic and The Program is the solution. The Program takes place in an Oregon school district where The Program is being used as a pilot to combat the teen suicide epidemic that is spreading all over the nation and all over the world. We follow Sloane as she navigates an increasingly dangerous high school landscape doing what she can to stay home with her friends and family. But will she be able to hold on until she turns 18 and can refuse to go into The Program?

To make a long story short, The Program punched me right in the feels. As someone who has struggled with depression all her life, I found the characters real and their world devastating. I'm pretty sure at one point I fell asleep reading it, because I couldn't put it down to go to bed. A week later I'm still haunted by the  characters, their story, and the damned epilogue that kicked me in the face while my feels were still hurting. .

Do yourself a favor and read this one if you can. Obvious triggers for suicide, depression, self-injury, and the like, so it's not a book that everybody's going to be able to get through... But if you can, you should. If you've never this type of crippling depression, read it so you can get a better understanding of it. If you have suffered, read it as a reminder that you are not alone.


Here's the trailer, which I pulled form Suzanne's blog and is also found on Youtube.