The reason I picked up The Detour was because I thought it would be a YA version of Stephen King’s Misery, but it took on a completely different story line. The Detour took me on a ride filled with thrilling craziness, psychotic characters and lots of secrets. It had a touch of predictability to it, but it kept me hooked until the end.
On her way to a writer’s conference, a bestselling teenage author takes a detour that has been deliberately set up by her biggest fans—a mother and daughter who kidnap her.
Livvy Flynn is a big deal—she’s a New York Times-bestselling author whose YA fiction has sold all over the world. She’s rich, she’s famous, she’s gorgeous, and she’s full of herself.
When she’s invited to an A-list writer’s conference, she decides to accept so she can have some time to herself. She’s on a tight deadline for her next book, and she has no intention of socializing with the other industry people at the conference.
And then she hits the detour. Before she knows it, her brand new car is wrecked, she’s hurt, and she’s tied to a bed in a nondescript basement in the middle of nowhere. A woman and her apparently manic daughter have kidnapped her. And they have no intention of letting her go.
The book starts off rather quickly with Olivia “Livvy” Flynn on her way to a writing retreat when she crashes her car. She gets saved by a mother, Peg and her daughter, Flute girl or so she thinks until she wakes up in a basement and they won’t let her call for help. The rest of the book is about Livvy trying to escape and find out why her captors are keeping her in the basement.
Heroine: Livvy comes off as a privileged arrogant teen. Very unlikeable at first. No wait—extremely unlikeable. She acts very snobby and snarky like she’s the best author in the world and her work is the best thing since sliced bread. Whenever she kept going on *and on* rambling about her success I was thinking:
The only reason she was going to the writing retreat in the first place was for the attention and to rub her success into other aspiring writer’s faces. Or as she says “pre-published” writer’s faces. She’s very harsh, and I had to admit that I was kind of glad when she got kidnapped.
As the book progresses, we get to see flashbacks from Livvy’s past, and these flashbacks actually made me *sort* of like her. We get to see a vulnerable side to her, and see her insecurities. For example, we find out that she used to have trichotillomania, which is a disorder where people have the urge to pull their hair out. She did this to deal with her childhood bullying until she became homeschooled and started to write. She also dealt with her parents not being around because they worked all the time, low self-esteem, and having to go through years of therapy.
Her past experiences help the reader understand her better because we get to learn why she acts the way that she does. The reason she acts so snobby and superior is because of her insecurities about herself and her low self-esteem. She tries to cover that up by boasting about her success.
I feel like her past does make her relatable to a degree, and some may even sympathize with her. As Livvy spends time in the basement, she slowly starts to change her attitude and her personality. But not by much. You’d think being kidnapped would change a person. Not Livvy. You see slight character growth, but since there’s going to be a sequel maybe we’ll see that major change in book #2.
Once I could wrap my head around why she acts and does the things that she does, I still wasn’t in love with her but I liked her *sort of*
Hero: Rory is her online boyfriend. He doesn’t have a big role until the end. This book doesn’t really have a romance arc. It’s more of thriller-type book, but there is a huge plot twist involving him.
Baddies: Livvy’s captors are Peg, and her daughter, Flute Girl *Livvy refers to her as such* They save Livvy from her car wreck, but instead of helping her they lock her in their basement. When first meeting Peg, she comes off as this suburban mom, which I think adds a creepy element to the story because you’d never picture that—a psycho soccer mom holding you captive in her basement. It made me think of the movie, Serial Mom:
Peg’s daughter instantly comes off as really creepy though. She’s weird, sadistic, and in love with her cousin. She also tortures Livvy more than Peg does, but she can play Lady Gaga on the flute.
Writing: There’s not tons of narrative or description, but the author does a superb job getting her point across with the short sentences and powerful verbs. The book is written rather simplistically and I think that fits the genre and pace of the book very well. It’s a thrilling read, and everything happens so fast so the simple writing makes it more engaging and gives it that PTQ *Page Turning Quality*
Addicting: Because I couldn’t stand Livvy at first, I thought the book would be a DNF *Do Not Finish* but the story reeled me in. It’s a very thrilling and addicting read. I couldn’t stop reading. Each page I turned, I needed to know what happened next in the story.
“I didn’t even care anymore that I was hungry. My hunger fed me, fueled my rage. Because I was past being a victim. One way or the other, I was getting the hell out of here.”
Predictability: The Detour was kind of predictable. I saw through all the author’s red herrings and figured out all the upcoming major plot twists about three chapters in.
Shortness: It’s a really *really* short read. I finished the book in about two hours. I do read fast, but it’s still a really short read. It’s about 200 pages when the average YA novel is around 300+ pages.
Characters: Most of the characters aren’t likeable. Livvy had to grow on me. Her parents are horrible because they basically pimped their daughter out when she became famous. Livvy’s literary agent came off as greedy and money-hungry. Her captors, Peg and Flute Girl are psychotic. So…yeah most of the characters aren’t likeable.
Crying Scale: 0/10 There’s no real sad scenes in the book. You might shed a tear when you read about Livvy’s past.
Overall, I enjoyed The Detour! It had some predictable elements, but it kept me intrigued. It also ends in a cliffhanger that will make you want to read book #2.