Published by Walker Books on April 15, 2014
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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.
If you haven’t read Open Road Summer yet, then you need to. Because Matt Finch. That is all. *Walks away.*
Oh, you need more of a reason than Matt Finch? Sorry about that!
Open Road Summer is an incredible coming-of-age, summer-time story. The characters are amazing and likable, the plot is completely intriguing and it will leave you begging for more.
Reagan, the main character, was funny and flawed. Though she hardened herself to the outside world, we (the reader) saw little peaks into her vulnerabilities. She has been hurt so many times, it’s hard for her to trust others. I liked that she wasn’t perfect; She used to drink, do drugs, flirt with guys to get ahead in life. She was in trouble with the law a few times. So many times in YA, the main character is a perfect princess. That’s not life, people aren’t perfect and mistakes happen. I love that she both accepted her flaws and strove to make herself better all at the same time. She came a long way from the first page to the last, but she still had a long way to go – which, again, felt realistic. Not everything can be solved by the end of a book.
I loved Dee. She was so innocent, kind and caring and a loyal friend to Reagan. She was the shining star, but like Reagan, she had moments where she faltered and we saw the cracks in her perfect life. It was nice to see that. The friendship between her and Reagan was epic – they were different enough that, most of the time, they didn’t really butt heads; yet, similar enough that they got along like sisters.
Another thing I loved? Though Reagan was the main character, she wasn’t the center of attention, the hero, the one who gets the special powers. She was the best friend of the star. It was really refreshing!
Matt Finch. Umm… What can I say about Matt Finch? He was hilarious, cocky, sweet, kind, vulnerable, amazing, swoon-worthy… I could go on and on. I had heard so many great things about him and, let me tell you, all those things are true. He is AMAZING. Also.. This is weird, but I find I can’t refer to him as simply “Matt.” He is, and always will be, referred to as “Matt Finch.” Here are some of my favorite quotes from him or said in reference to him:
-“…I’m not sure if you completely hate me or if you think I’m the hottest guy in the world” (Page 72)
-“If he wasn’t so cute, someone would have killed him for being annoying by now.” (Page 75)
-“His self-satisfied grin makes his cheeks look dimply and smackable. I consider it, too…” (Page 94)
-“In the limited time I’ve known him, Matt Finch has never looked more delighted than when he is intentionally pushing my buttons.” (Page 117)
I should mention, while I’m on the subject, how quotable this book was. Normally, I don’t quote a book a lot, but at least half my Goodreads status updates were me just quoting the book. For example:
-“Her DNA twists into bars of music instead of double helixes” (Page 6)
-“…And just like that, we’re on our way to everywhere.” (Page 7)
-“In a fairy tale, she’d play the good fairy. I’d be the evil witch’s screwup second cousin.” (Page 8)
-“That Southern brand of trust is stronger than whiskey, and, when broken, it burns even more.” (Page 31)
-“When you’re on the floor, there’s nowhere farther to fall.” (Page 55)
-“In this place, I feel like the Devil, escorting a newly fallen Angel through the underworld.” (Page 84)
Emery Lord just has this amazing way with words. This is further evidenced in the gorgeous song lyrics she pens into the novel. Each time I encountered song lyrics, I sang them… Out loud… Two or three times… Or however many times it took me to get it right. No shame.
For the most part, Open Road Summer was a light, fluffy read with a summer road trip and best friends determined to take a break from their old lives – For Reagan, that means no guys and no getting into trouble. For Dee, that means getting over a bad break-up. As the story unfolds, there are some pretty heavy moments, situations that can’t be easily solved or simply ignored. But the character’s took it in stride and made the best of the situation, dealing with the hand they were dealt one card at a time.
Overall, if you couldn’t tell from my insane, fangirly review, Open Road Summer is an absolute must-read. If you have it on your TBR pile, bump it up and make it your next read. if it ISN’T on your TBR… Well, why isn’t it?!?!?! GO BUY IT NOW! Emery Lord is definitely an up-and-coming author to watch out for – I’m eager to see what she does next!