Open Road Summer
by Emery Lord
Publication: Bloomsbury on April 15, 2014
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Music, Road Trip
Two best friends . . .Two broken hearts . . .One summer that will change everything.After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O'Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. Her best friend, country superstar Dee Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Dee's twenty-four-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of breakup ballads and healing.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. With miles to go before Reagan and Dee are ready to risk their hearts again, this summer will be one to remember.
After hearing high acclaim for Emery Lord's newest novel, The Start of Me and You, published only last month, I decided to first check out her debut novel, Open Road Summer, to get a taste for Lord's writing.
My initial thought was in favor of the whole storyline and idea behind the book - I thought it was cute. However, as I began to read more, I did feel as if the plot was a bit of a banality. Unlike the opinion of many Open Road Summer lovers, I wasn't quite as taken with the book. I did enjoy reading the book and Lord's writing, but rather unfortunately, I could not consider it a favorite read of the year.
Reagan, like all other YA protagonists, isn't anywhere near perfect. She is a character struggling through her own personal problems and difficult times. A good portion of the book is focused on Reagan's personal growth and change as a character over a special summer touring the country with her best, superstar friend, Dee. It was definitely fun to read about the two girls' road trip and to find out more about their friendship, but their relationship did not stand out to me as particularly memorable out of the whole scheme of YA realistic fiction. And yes, again, I know other readers absolutely adored Reagan and Dee, but I just...didn't. I'm not exactly sure why either.
As I read on, I believe the plot improved significantly and I enjoyed turning the pages more. Having said that, I rather did like Matt and Reagan's relationship. I pretty much always fall for the guy the author intended the reader to, and Matt was no exception. Well, on the other hand, it is pretty much impossible to not fall for a guitar-strumming, lyric-making, song-singing guy like Matt Finch. There were a number of sweet Matt and Reagan scenes dispersed throughout the pages, and between all of them, I do believe Lord was able to successfully create a cute YA realistic fiction romance. So congratulations, author!
Open Road Summer was a cute, easy read for me, but nothing more. Though I have to say I was expecting a lot more after all the high praise, Open Road Summer was still an enjoyable read, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read Lord's debut novel myself. I hope I'll be able to get my hands on her second published work, The Start of Me and You, sometime soon!