Title: Open Road Summer

Author: Emery Lord ♥ @emerylord

Expected Publication:
April 15, 2014

Publisher: Walker/Bloomsbury

Pages: 342

Genre(s): Young Adult ♥ Romance  ♥ Contemporary

Source: NetGalley

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

“A fabulously entertaining story of friendship, healing, and love. Filled with laughter, heart, and a side of sass, this rock star debut will have you cheering for an encore!”—Elizabeth Eulberg, author of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

Average Goodreads Rating (as of 03/24/2014): 4.46

  • Christina simply adored this title! There’s absolutely no way that it could receive any other ranking than her TOP SHELF! In fact, she’s proud it’s on her kindle so that it can just stay with her all the time.

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

♥  Initial Thought and Rating:
5 of the prettiest stars!
 I knew with almost positive certainty from the very beginning that Open Road Summer was going to quickly work its way onto my favorite’s shelf. I’m always wary about picking up books that my friends have loved, so even with my expectations incredibly high, Emery Lord met every single one of them and completely blew them out of the water. This may be her debut novel, but her prose and character development speak easily of her profound talent. I am quite the fangirl now. *proceeds to lovingly stalk her on every social outlet*

Open Road Summer is a fun, yet poignant book about the good, the bad, the ups, and the downs of friendships, family, love, and heartbreak. But more importantly, it’s captures the truth behind starting over, understanding your own mistakes and learning from them, and ultimately about freeing yourself from their burden and growing in spite of them.

“I know my mistakes like the back of my hand, but I can chart my future by the underside of my wrist. The henna constellation marks my skin, a reminder to guide me. After all, the night sky is a mess of stars– a million fireflies crammed into infinity. But the mess becomes a map once you know how to use it.”
~quote taken from my eARC of Open Road Summer at 99%

The Lowdown: Reagan O’Neill is looking to get away for a while, to put distance between herself and her “bad girl” rep, the boy that was all wrong for her, and the family situation that has her at her limits. What better escape is there than taking up life on the road with her friend and famous country singer, Lilah “Dee” Montgomery, who is nursing a broken heart of her own? But when an incident arises that has Lilah’s publicity team and record label scrambling for a quick fix, Matt Finch, former teen group heartthrob turned solo artist, joins as the opening act of the tour and Lilah’s new “love interest.” However, Matt proves to be a welcomed distraction for everyone involved and the solution to more than just righting Lilah’s negative press.

My Thoughts: *sings-songs* I looooooved this book so much! So much, in fact, that I have over eight pages of about twenty-four different quotes highlighted, not counting all my Goodreads updates, because of it. Emery Lord captivated me most with her story delivery. Her dialogue was spot on for their age and helped to build and carry the scene appropriately. More so, her prose is the perfect balance of being descriptive without being excessive, and you can’t help but feel more of a part of her story because of it. Below are some of my favorite examples.

“But more than ever, I feel a craving– stronger than the dull buzz of nicotine or the rush of a fourth beer. I’m hungry for newness, a fresh start, a do-over. I want to reach back into my history with a gradeschool pink eraser, scrubbing away my decisions like mistakes on a math test. Too bad I drew my mistakes in ink.”
~quote taken from my eARC of Open Road Summer at 27%

“For the past few years, everything I’ve done has been so fast– a flurry of late nights and red plastic cups and frantic undressing, too quick to stop and think. I was driving my life way over the speed limit, swerving the wheel just to make myself feel more alive. It took me half a summer to get here, with a buildup that simmers still. Now, with Matt’s hand tangled in my hair, I can’t believe I never knew how good it feels to slow down.”
~quote taken from my eARC of Open Road Summer at 64%

I also truly love and connected to all the characters. Reagan was easy for me to understand with her brashness and wall-building. Dee was a wonderful friend, authentic in her good nature and big heart. And then there was Matt, who was easiest to fall for because of his genuine sweet soul and his humor. I won’t take up your time singing the praises of her character development and regaling you all about their personal stories, but just know that it’s there for all the characters in the book and each character felt believable in their personal growth. The author is exceptionally well-versed in using her characters to poke and prod at all of your feels, too.

Finally, I really liked the various types of relationships mentioned in this novel. It was beyond refreshing to see a healthy friendship, with both a female/female and female/male dynamic. I loved how they were supportive and caring and present when they needed to be. Lord also showed how impactful a strong family can be, or how a broken one can make you feel like you aren’t whole as a person in the smallest of ways. Lastly, of course, I loved loved loved experiencing the romance between Reagan and Matt. The couple had good chemistry, that’s for sure.

“Every feeling coursing through me is a bad country-song cliché, but I can’t help it. My thoughts are all sparks and honey and how a kiss like this can make you believe that you’ve actually invented kissing right here and now, the first two people to discover the feeling of your lips against each other’s.”
~quote taken from my eARC of Open Road Summer at 60%

Swoons & Love Interest: Hohman, was Matt Finch ever one swoony gentledude?! First, can we just take a moment to get acquainted with him?

“He’s kind of beautiful, in an understated, comfortable-looking way– the kind of guy who doesn’t mind seeing a rom-com with you and gives you his hoodie when you’re cold.”
– 
“He was cute when we were younger, but in a baby-faced way. Now he’s all strong jawline and broad shoulders, his white T-shirt pulled tight across the chest and looser at his waist.

His eyes are somewhere between gray and blue, and his hair somewhere between brown and blond, and I am somewhere between hostile and attracted.”
~quote taken from my eARC of Open Road Summer at 19%

He’s deliciously tall, a talented musician, very humble despite his fame and fortune, and made me laugh more than a few times. Not only that, but he buys Twizzlers by the pound and has a meaningful tattoo. Definitely a boy after my own heart.

So, to all those things, I have only one question: “Matt, mind if I crawl into your lap and feed you Twizzlers? Bonus points if you sing to me in-between bites!”

Swoony Teaser: (For the record, it was super hard to narrow it down to one single swoon. There are so, so many moments.)

“I really like you,” Matt announces, which somehow makes me feel more embarrassed. “You’re unpredictable and smart, and I basically want to spend all of my time with you.”
~quote taken from my eARC of Open Road Summer at 76%

  Rec It? Pfft, yes, a million times over! I think Lord perfectly captures the essence of what it means to struggle through finding yourself, understanding the complexity of emotions, and dealing with consequences of unfavorable actions at such a pivotal age in life. She balances the heavier moments and life lessons with an cute, honest friendship, a swoony budding romance, and a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of what life on the road for a rising star looks like. Trust me, this isn’t a book that you’re going to want to miss out on; consider me hooked! Emery Lord is definitely a talent worth keeping your eye on.

Oh, there’s one last thing. Can we just take a moment to discuss how ridiculously cute this author is? Because really…

♥ A very special thanks to Walker/Bloomsbury and NetGalley for providing me with an early copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. 

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