by Emery Lord
Published By: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 04/15/14
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: ARC received for review purposes
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.
Despite the fact that I try to stay away from most books about celebrities, especially musicians, I had to add this to my TBR as soon as I saw it. Yeah, the cover and title are what first drew me in but it was the synopsis that had me hooked. Summer romance? Road trip? Nice guy? Sign me up! I was so excited when a copy showed up at my door but nervous to read it since I had high expectations for it. While Open Road Summer wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, I think I liked it even better because of it.
When Reagan and her best friend, up and coming country star Lilah, recently break up with their boyfriends, they decide the perfect way to move on is for both of them to go on Lilah’s upcoming Summer tour. Doesn’t this sound perfect? The tour starts off great and both of the girls are having a lot of fun hanging out. When a fake ‘nude photo’ of Lilah surfaces online, her PR team is left scrambling to redeem her good girl image. The solution? Bring on rising singer, Matt Finch, as her opening act and fake boyfriend. This throws a wrench in Reagan’s plans, which didn’t include sharing her best friend. But Reagan is surprised to find out that Matt is actually a really great guy and is fun to be around with. When the cute and flirty moments between them start to turn into something more, Reagan’s old insecurities start resurfacing. Is Matt really a good guy or is he like the other losers she’s dated? And how the hell is she supposed to date him when he’s supposed to be fake-dating her best friend?
Reagan was such a fun character. While she may not be for everyone, I loved her. She was wild and sometimes reckless. She could be a bitch but she always has Lilah’s best interest at heart. She tries to pretend she’s a bad girl with her ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude when she really does. I love that the author made this character flawed but made you still want to root for her. I’ll take a flawed and realistic character any day! I loved how she made Matt work for it, not because she’s stuck up but because deep down she was scared. And I loved that Matt didn’t give up. Her could always see past the Reagan facade she tried to put up and called her out. I loved the dynamic between Reagan, Lilah and Matt and loved how they all became friends and how they all looked out for each other. And super props to Emery Lord for making a male lead who is a musician AND not a manwhore/asshole. Gotta love the good guys!
The best part about this book was that not only is this a good romance, but that isn’t the main focus of the book. It also deals heavily on friendship, family and finding your way. As much as I loved reading about Reagan and Matt, I also loved reading about Lilah and Reagan’s friendship. I also loved the side story about Lilah and her ex! And OMG, can we please get a story about them next because I need to know what happens after that ending! The whole IWLYF thing was so sweet and left me wanting more. My one small issue with this book was that I wasn’t a big fan of the how Reagan acted towards the end. I get she was hurt and yeah, I loved her snarky attitude, but this was more of her being stubborn and childish than anything else. The ending was good though and the rest of the book was so good that it totally makes up for it. Also, this is a personal pet peeve of mine but I don’t really like lyrics in books. Most of the time I found them cheesy and while I didn’t really mind these, I just can’t connect with lyrics without knowing how the music goes along with it. Overall, Open Road Summer was a really solid book! There’s so much to love about this book, it’s one of those ‘feel good’ books. I’m definitely on the lookout for future books by this author!
Some of my favorite quotes from Open Road Summer:
I man the photo-processing station, but sometimes I quit or simply don’t show up. They also occasionally fire me for not showing up…or for showing up but failing to be ‘customer service-oriented.’ I’m perfectly nice to the nonidiots.
The exploration of guitar chords, Matt’s low voice, and Dee’s hoarse giggling make a summer soundtrack I’ll replay even when the tour is over – in the moments when I feel like being truly happy is an impossible puzzle, one I’m not meant to figure out…
I prefer to keep my academic record to myself, as to not tarnish my hard-earned image. The truth is that I have my sights on finishing in the top ten of my class.
If I had a Sharpie, I’d write it on the stall door myself: Reagan O’Neill is a bitch.
If I were in a more forgiving mood, maybe I could admit that I know the feeling of a best friend slipping away. Or how easy it is to grasp for validation after someone has rejected you. But alas. I’m a cold, hard bitch, and so is she.
“I don’t have to keep any shields up, because you see right through them anyway. And I see you, too, Reagan – you know I do – and I like all of it, even the parts you try to hide.”