Genres: Contemporary, Summer, Young Adult
Published by Bloomsbury on April 15th 2014
Also by this author: The Start of Me and You, When We Collided, The Names They Gave Us
Format: Audiobook Source: Audible
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.
Let me get this out of the way quickly: I’m not a huge music person. That sounds weird or stupid, but I’m just not. I don’t mean that I don’t like music or don’t listen to music, because I DO. I really do. I prefer classic rock to the popular stuff on the radio now; I tend to only listen to music that’s from the 60s, 70s, or 90s. Some people have to be plugged into music all day every day, but there are some days I even go without listening to music at all. (That sounds weird because I used to never be that way; I’m pretty sure I can blame audiobooks for that one). That being said, I generally don’t gravitate towards books with music or musicians as a central part of the plot line. It’s not that I can’t relate to it or won’t like it, it’s just a topic that doesn’t jump out to me. Open Road Summer clearly is a book based around music, but it was not what I was expecting – in a very good way. Reagan heads out on tour for the summer with her best friend Lilah, who is a country music star. When some drama unfolds and Lilah’s image is in jeopardy, a child star singer named Matt joins the tour. To me, this was a story much more about friendship than about relationships. Sure, there is PLENTY going on with romantic relationships, breakups, and make-ups, but I think the central theme was about Reagan and Lilah’s friendship. I loved that. I wish that the cover didn’t so blatantly include a couple kissing; I don’t think it represents the book as well as it could. Regardless, I REALLY loved the storyline. This book made me smile a lot and I enjoyed watching all of the characters grow over the course of the summer. Sure, it had some predictable parts, but they were all perfect.
- Reagan: She was a cool main character because she had a rough past and was kind of a badass. That’s normally a characterization for the “best friend” role in books like this. The MC tends to be the shy girl who has the opposite kind of best friend – the girl who parties too much or is a little crazy. It was a nice change to see the central character having those traits and trying to work on herself in different ways. She REALLY pissed me off for the last hour or so of the book and was being very stubborn. I can see how it added to the plot and was a trait of her personality, but it still irritated me. Overall though, I definitely loved seeing a different kind of main character in a contemporary.
- Lilah: I liked her character. She seemed a little unrealistically sweet, but I couldn’t hold it against her. She had a great family, was living her dream, and had her best friend by her side for the entire summer. She was nursing a broken heart from her childhood/high school sweetheart, who was also characterized quite a bit in the novel (Jimmy). I was happy when Lilah finally stuck up for herself and got angry at times because it showed that she wasn’t perfect. Their friendship was strong and real.
- Matt: His character was great because he had a lot of layers to his personality. He had the singing, the sad stuff from his recent past, the funny side, and the sweet boy-next-door vibe. I totally loved him. I don’t often fall in love with fictional people, but he definitely made me smile during this book. He was a good catalyst to Reagan and respected her friendship with Lilah; he didn’t want to monopolize all of her time and take away from what the summer tour was really about.
Part of me really wishes I read this one instead of listened to it, but the narrator’s voice was great. Emery Lord is DEFINITELY a writer I’ll be following from now on. The novel flowed very well and felt like everything happened at the right speed.
Contemporary fans will definitely love this one. The story was cute, somewhat predictable (in all of the right ways). Those who like books by Kasie West or Morgan Matson will totally appreciate this one. People interested in music or music-themed books will definitely like this one, too. I highly recommend it!
The only reason this didn’t get five stars from me was because of the end. The last hour of the audiobook bugged me because Reagan was being very stubborn about some issues that came up and it just pissed me off. I don’t want to explain it any more than that and ruin it, but yeah. Otherwise, such a great story with well-developed characters!