I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Also by this author: Open Road Summer, The Start of Me and You, The Start of Me and You
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on 2014-04-15
Genres: Friendship, Love & Romance, Music, Performing Arts, Social Issues, Young Adult
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.
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord is a book that has been on my radar for quite some time now. Ever since its initial release, it was a book that so many other bloggers were buzzing about in the best ways, and I kept thinking that it sounded like a book that might just be right up my alleyway as well. So, when Brittany at The Book Addict’s Guide tweeted that she needed three people who were interested in reading Open Road Summer as part of a summer promotion for Bloomsbury, I immediately responded that I was interested. Little did I know that in a very short period of time, I would be sitting up in my bed at midnight not wanting to put this book down because I wanted to know exactly what happened to the characters of Dee, Reagan, and Matt. They took a hold of me, refusing to let me know, and wrapped me up in their world and their stories so much so that all I wanted was for each of them to have their happy ending. Oh, and to go on a summer road trip myself.
Open Road Summer is told from the point of view of Reagan, who is following her best friend Lilah “Dee” Montgomery on her first major headlining tour as a country music superstar. Where Dee is a very sweet and loving character, Reagan is a very raw character. You can tell almost immediately that she has been wounded in some way. She wears a lot of battle armor to protect herself. It takes a lot for her to open up to others except for Dee. Dee has been through everything with Reagan and has always had her back. No matter what trouble Reagan managed to get herself into, she always knew that she could turn to Dee, and that she would be there. Their friendship really is a thing of beauty. It’s a strong two-sided friendship where just like Dee has always been there for Reagan, Reagan is always there for Dee. They know each other better than anyone else and refuse to give up on each other when the rest of the world wants to turn in the towel. I just loved the way their friendship was written and what a big role it played in the story. Yes, there was the music, and the romance but the friendship really did play a key role in the story as a whole.
At first, the plan is for it to just be Dee and Reagan touring the country side together but when Dee suddenly finds herself in the middle of a photo controversy their plans have to change a bit. This is where Matt Finch enters the story. Matt is a musician as well but he hasn’t hit the big time since he was younger and in a family band with his siblings known as the Finch Five. How would one describe Matt? He’s a good guy. Like a really good guy. He’s a swoon worthy guy. He’s a good friend to Dee which is why he agrees to pose in a faux-relationship with her to get the press off her back, and he’s also really good at the comebacks which completely throws Reagan off her game. She isn’t used to someone, outside of Dee, who seems to know her so well without even really knowing her. Matt recognizes her walls and sees past them. He gets under her skin, bantering with her, and making her question herself in ways that she isn’t used to. She gets under his skin as well and makes him move past his own demons. I really loved the way that their relationship was written – it’s not rushed – it takes its time to get to where it needs to be – they have insane chemistry together — and it is beautiful.
Individually, the three main characters of Open Road Summer are all well-crafted and each play an important role in the flow of the story. They’re each so different from each other but, they work together. They balance each other out. I loved Dee’s sweet personality and her heartfelt advice. I loved how Reagan had a chip on her shoulder and her passive-bitch personality. I loved Matt’s heart and the way he looked at life. Oh, and the lyrics to his songs? I wish they were real. I felt like they could have been real true country songs when I was reading them on the page. Each of them was a perfect representation of the point of the story at which they were introduced. I have no idea how Emery Lord was able to do this but I’m so glad that she did. The moments that she created in this story are going to stick with me for a very long time.
Another thing that is going to stick with me? The scenery which was brought to life on the pages. The sights, the sounds, the landscapes each felt tangible to me. Each chapter is a different location where Dee, Reagan, and Matt were on the tour. Each location brought a different moment in time. I felt like I was really there with them witnessing the moments. I enjoyed the tour bus vibe – the different hotel rooms – and the ways that everything that happened had this realness associated with it. Nothing felt forced behind the scenes. It all flowed naturally, and effortlessly, and brought me in deeper. The writing was charming filled with wit and description. There was nothing over done about what was written. I found several passages which I wanted to highlight and remember to go back to at another time. One such passage is:
“Laughter feels like our flotation device — it won’t pull us out of the storm, but it might carry us through, if we can just hang on.” (236)
To me, this is the pinnacle of what Open Road Summer is all about. The little moments that helped Dee, Reagan, and Matt rebuild their lives and find happiness. They had a summer together that was filled with magic and light. One that they could look back on and see the moments that forever changed them. It is a summer of self-discovery, and I honestly can’t recommend this one enough to you. Put it in your beach bag, take it on a road trip, curl under a blanket on a chilly day and let the summer atmosphere just take you away.