Book Review: ‘Open Road Summer’ by Emery Lord

October 28, 2015     Holly     Reviews

Book Review: ‘Open Road Summer’ by Emery LordOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord
Published by Walker Childrens on April 15, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Road Trip
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
5 Stars

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.

In a desperate attempt to hold onto the goodtime feelings of summer, I held off on reading Emery Lord’s Open Road Summer for as long as possible. And now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long because, as much of the praise has stated before me, that was such a great book! Friendship, the open road, a good romance – it’s as if summer was bottled up in book form just so we can carry it around wherever we want to go.

Following the adventures of Reagan and Lilah (a.k.a. Dee) as they embark on Lilah’s 24-stop tour across the U.S., Open Road Summer embodies just about every teenage girls dream. She wants to either be a big star, or the star’s best friend, and reader’s get to live both lives through these two characters. Dee is basically Taylor Swift pre-1989, full of country charm and sappy songwriting ability, but there’s the same genuine likability that makes her so easy to relate to. And where Dee has her up moments, Lilah definitely has her down, adding a depth and appreciation to her character that wouldn’t be there if every moment in her life was perfect.

And where there’s Dee, there’s Reagan, the character that we see Open Road Summer through. Reagan is tough as nails, seemingly unshakable, and the other side of Dee’s coin. Reagan’s problems are more along the lines of a regular teen’s – a bad reputation, problems at home, a love-life gone sour – but she owns her problems with a confidence and attitude that gives her a spark of life that’s truly her own. She has her own passion outside of her status as Lilah Montgomery’s best friend, photography, and it’s great to see her talent expand throughout the story alongside her character.

And, of course, in every young adult contemporary novel. there has to be a romance worth noting. And the sparks fly between Reagan and Matt as the story unfolds. But there growing involvement, despite its abundance of adorable, doesn’t hold a candle to the flame that is the friendship between Reagan and Dee. And that’s one of the main draws to Open Road Summer. Because much like Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone, it’s not about a boy and a girl having a summer fling, but about the best friend that you get to share every detail with.

Open Road Summer is like every road trip you’ve ever taken with your best friend (most likely minus the tour bus). You’ll laugh, you’ll hurt, you’ll want to protect the characters within its pages, and you won’t regret picking up a copy.

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