Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Published: April 15th, 2014
342 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: From the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.
My review: This book was pretty much perfect so GO READ IT NOW.
Seriously though, Open Road Summer really is pretty much perfect. It came at the exact right time for me, between being in a reading slump, dealing with real life issues, and just basically feeling down. I needed an escape, and I got it in this book. It paired gorgeous writing with an amazing portrayal of friendship, a lot of character growth, a sweet romance, country music, and an epic road trip.
I appreciated how the story basically launched right in. It would have been easy to give a ton of back-story right away, but it opened with a scene of Reagan and her best friend, Dee - a country music starlet - about to hit the road for the summer on a cross-country tour. We learned why Reagan was going on tour with Dee, and we learned a bit about the girls’ friendship, but it didn’t get bogged down in details. Right from the first page, I was completely hooked by Lord’s simple yet beautiful writing style, and I liked Reagan and Dee instantly.
Since Nashville is currently one of my favourite TV shows, I loved the country music aspect of this story. I’m not sure if Lord modeled Dee after Taylor Swift, but that’s who I pictured throughout the book. She was sweet, humble, down to earth, and wrote honest, age-appropriate lyrics. Dee was the type of girl you want to be best friends with, and Reagan was lucky enough to hold that title. Reagan and Dee were a solid unit, almost more like family than friends. They knew each other inside and out, accepted each other’s faults, and loved each other unconditionally. Their friendship was definitely my favourite part of the book. There aren’t enough books that focus on strong, healthy female friendships; there’s so much backstabbing and fighting and hurt feelings, and while Reagan and Dee’s relationship wasn’t perfect, it was beautiful and heartwarming and made me tear up more than once.
I found myself really connecting with Reagan. I loved that she had a past; she had done stupid things, she’d made mistakes, and she’d had her heart broken. She was snarky and was the first person to admit that she’s a bitch, but she was fiercely loyal and protective of Dee, and I loved her for that. I loved her passion for photography, and the little surprises about her that were revealed throughout the story. There were a lot of bumps along the way, but she learned a lot, and it felt very authentic and realistic to me.
If you’re looking for a swoonworthy romance, Open Road Summer certainly has it. Matt Finch is one of my new favourite book boys. He was a lot like Dee - sweet and down to earth. He’d been through a lot, and he put on a good face, but underneath the jokes and the winks was a boy who was as broken as Reagan. I loved the way he challenged Reagan, and I also loved that their relationship wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. The progression was natural and believable, and thoroughly enjoyable to watch.
Open Road Summer made me laugh, cry, and swoon. I could easily picture myself on the road with Reagan, Dee, and Matt, and I found myself constantly wishing I was on their epic summer road trip. I ran the gamut of emotions through the course of Open Road Summer, but I was left with a big smile on my face and a feeling of hope. I would love to see these characters again…maybe a companion novel from Dee’s perspective? *hint hint Ms Lord*
“My therapist one told me: you are the only person who can build emotional barriers, but you’re also the only person who can topple them. Other people can’t knock down the walls you’ve built, no matter how much they love you. You have to tear them down yourself because there’s something worth seeing on the other side.”
~Quote from the ARC of Open Road Summer~
Have you read Open Road Summer? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Do you like road trip books? Books about music?