Open Road Summer by Emery Lord gave me a serious book hangover. I felt so invested in Dee, Reagan and Matt that I physically couldn’t bring myself to start anything else for a good half a day after finishing. Seriously, my heartstrings almost couldn’t take it. Open Road Summer is the first book that was released by Emery Lord even though her second book, The Start of Me and You was actually written first. I debated about where to start but I figured I would trust the publishing industry and read them in the order they were released in. I’m just so happy this book came into my life! I also feel obligated to admit that I’m super into Taylor Swift right now and I’m pretty sure Lilah Montgomery is the fictional version of her (except with less boyfriends).
Friendship is the most prevalent theme in Open Road Summer and I just can’t deny my love of reading about really strong female friendships. Our main character Reagan has been burned so many times and through every awful relationship she experiences, her bond with Dee (Lilah Montgomery) remains constant and unwavering and it is anything but typical. Dee is actually a famous country star who goes by Lilah Montgomery. Reagan and she set out together on a road trip complete with tour buses for Dee’s summer tour across the country. At first I was unsure how I felt about Reagan because of her brash demeanor but as the story progress and I learned more about her past and her desire to change for the better, she really grew on me. I loved Dee from the start. She’s the perfect role model who sticks to her morals no matter how tough that might be in her industry and I felt terrible for her when her personal life gets exploited.
And then there’s Matt Finch. He just may be the most perfect book boyfriend of all time and I wish I could go into depth with all the spoilers about him because he really is everything. Matt is a musician who’s using the tour to find his place in life. He seems like a lost puppy at times but in the most endearing and boy-next-door kind of way. He’s not afraid to put all of his feelings out there and there’s a certain undeniably charming vulnerability that goes along with a man who bears his soul on stage. I also loved that relationship Matt is involved in had zero insta-love. It’s a sweet slow burn all the way and it’s so so satisfying. Oh! And we get to read some of Dee and Matt’s song lyrics!
Actually, my only complaint is that even though the girls were constantly moving between cities on their road trip, the story mostly took place in gas stations and on the tour buses. There was not much sightseeing involved so it’s a totally different kind of road trip than the one in Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. But, I can forgive that because I felt like the progression to new places symbolized the progression and development our three main characters were experiencing in their own lives. It also felt authentic because any celebrity who’s traveling and spending such a short amount of time in one place probably doesn’t have a huge opportunity to sight see.
Final Thoughts: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord is a near perfect contemporary that captures unconditional love in the form of a powerful female friendship, the most swoonworthy romance (seriously, look out Etienne, you have some serious book boyfriend competition right now), and such satisfying character development for everyone involved. If you’ve ever been interested in learning what it’s like to be a touring musician or if you want a story fueled by raw emotion, you should absolutely check out Open Road Summer.
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. (via Goodreads)