Monday, May 26, 2014

Review: Open Road Summer (Emery Lord)

Open Road Summer
Title: Open Road Summer
Series: standalone
Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Told: First Person (Reagan), Present Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (some language, sensuality, minor abuse)
Format Read: ARC (publisher)
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

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.

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Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review. Thank you, Bloomsbury!

Three Words: Realistic. Flirty. Solid.

Series: This is a standalone.

Cover: While I really love the theme and colors of the cover, the lighthearted rural concept does not fit this story at all. And I waited the entire book for that bicycle to come into play (and it totally could've at the end!), but other than the mere mention of one somewhere in the middle it never does.

Writing: Solid; very well plotted and paced. The dialogue was playful and snarky, which I always enjoy.

Setting: We travel the US on a tour bus seeing the sights, although we spend most of the time in hotel rooms, entertainment venues, and the tour buses themselves. It was really interesting and fun seeing how a music star lives on a bus tour. Considering Emery created it all from research and not experience (I asked her about it at the First Loves Tour), I think she did an amazing job and it seemed very realistic.

Story: To escape the end of a bad relationship and the person she's become, Reagan follows her best friend Dee (Lilah Montgomery, teen country music star to her fans) on a summer tour to mentally work through her past mistakes and try to discover a better her. At first, Reagan's whole life revolved around Dee's, so much so that I wondered if it wasn't actually Dee's story instead of Reagan's. But then Matt Finch came along. Slowly the story pulled away from Dee and focused on Reagan - her struggle to be better and her attraction to Matt - with Dee's story only occasionally pushing its way back to the front. While I actually enjoyed Dee's story more than Reagan's, they were two very different stories and both were interesting and fun, even if they dealt with some heavier issues. The end didn't come to much of a conclusion, but romances, like life, never really have bow-tie endings, so the realism gave the realistic story a nice finish.

Characters: Reagan was a "bad girl" who'd learned her lesson and was striving to be better. She truly wanted to change, and went out of her way to make it happen. Reagan worked so hard to be strong, and I admired her for that. I've heard some people call her "mean," but I never felt she was - just gutsy and seriously insecure, especially when it came to Matt. As for Matt, while he could be a bit adorable at times, overall I wasn't particularly impressed with him. Even if it was supposed to be a front I didn't like how cocky he acted, especially with Reagan, and loved how she didn't like it either and called him on it. The fleeting moments he was being real, truly real, were the only times I was okay with him. Dee was a sweetheart and while a bit of a wreck for most of the book had an amazing and admirable strength as well. Her occasional hysterics sometimes seemed a little much, but she felt things with her whole being, and I always love that in a character.

Friendship: Reagan and Dee's friendship warrants a special mention. As a girl who's never had a best friend, I was jealous of how close they were, even at their friendship's darkest moment. If you love stories with fierce female friendships, look no further than this book.

Romantic Relationships: There are two relationships - one for both Reagan and Dee - and to me they felt very realistic as the complicated and emotional rollercoasters they were. I guess I liked both? The realism was certainly refreshing - romance is usually messy, and these relationships were definitely up there in the mess department. They had their really sweet moments though, and I enjoyed following them.

Conclusion: While I wasn't blown away like everyone else I know, I felt it was a solid read and did enjoy it, especially the friendship aspect. If you like realistic contemporary romances with strong friendship themes and a pinch of celebrity and travel, then I definitely recommend this book, especially as a summer read.

Scribble Rating
3 of 5 Scribbles

1 comment:

  1. Wait. So you're telling me there isn't some romantic bike ride into an abandoned field full of flowers where they share a kiss at sunset?! What the heck. The friendship between Reagan and Dee sounds great, I really do enjoy very close, tight friendships like that. And the fact that both relationships felt authentic is great to hear. I think I'll definitely give this a try! Great review!