Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Published: April 15, 2014 by Walker Childrens
Source: Received from the publisher - thank you!
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. [goodreads]
Every so often a book will pop up on my radar and I'll get this feeling, as if I know something really great is written between those pages. I felt this way about OPEN ROAD SUMMER when I first learned about this contemporary YA from debut author Emery Lord. The cover alone begged for my attention.. those soft colors, that gorgeous large print, the couple stealing a kiss... every bit of it had me staring in awe. Then once I read what it was about, I pretty much knew I would love this story. And you know what? My gut was right. I adore it!!
Reagan and Dee are best friends. It's always been them against the world. Reagan being the wild child, stemming from a broken home and a bruised heart, leans on Dee as her solid ground. But Dee is not your typical best friend. She's got a hit record and adoring fans, plus a reputation to withhold. Good things she's got her head screwed on straight. As Dee is embarking on a summer concert tour, she invites Reagan along for the ride. Dee sees it as a blessing to have her best friend around when the craziness of this glamorous life can get to be too much. But Reagan is taking it as an opportunity to find her footing and start over. Just before the summer she found herself in a bit of trouble, and in true Reagan form she tells herself this is a chance at a fresh start, but really she may just be running away, like she always has.
The relationship between these two girls is laid out with a solid foundation. Their friendship felt very real as the first few chapters flew by. I must give props to Emery Lord for laying the proper framework, allowing the reader to gain a solid grip before conflict walked through the door. That sweet conflict comes by the name of Matt Finch. He's been brought on tour as the opening act to help squelch some ugly tabloid rumors about Dee. His presence is made to look like the good ol' boy that America loves, and loves seeing side by side with Dee. But it isn't Dee who has caught his eye, it's Reagan. Her stubbornness, witty comebacks, and irresistible sarcasm has made him putty in her hands.
I loved the way Matt and Reagan interacted. Though you knew immediately he liked her, and obviously she liked him back, but was too strung up in her own past demons to admit it, their path to trust and finally love was a sweet, playful ride to be on. Themes such as friendship, family, young love, and following your dreams are all present through out this story. They vary in different degrees from character to character, but all come back and make sense with one another. As the tour takes them from city to city, the landscapes of each town along the way really resonated with me. Especially a certain scene at a Fourth of July festival. Summertime has always been a favorite backdrop for contemporary YAs for me, and this one definitely hit the high note in that regard.
Emery Lord's writing is charismatic, beautiful, witty and grows with you as the story marches on. If life hadn't demanded me to do other things, I could have easily read this in one sitting. Fans of contemporary YA will devour this book and find themselves singing along to "Open Road Summer", wishing they had a best friend like Dee and Reagan, and a young love like Matt Finch. I already know this will be a definite summertime reread for me!