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.
ebook, 342 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Walker
Four Stars: A light, sweet summery romance for fans who love road trips and country music.
Reagan is looking forward to her summer road trip with her best friend, country music star Lilah "Dee" Montgomery. Reagan is accompanying Dee on her summer music tour, and for Reagan it is the perfect escape from her mess of a life. Reagan is coming off a bad break up and Dee is nursing a broken heart. Unfortunately, the tour hits a bump in the road right away when the tabloids snatch up a picture of Dee and her former boyfriend. Rumors swirl and Dee's good girl image is in danger. Dee's publicist quickly steps in and tries to do damage control by adding Matt Finch, the boy next door, to the tour. Dee and Matt are close friends, and if the public wants to believe they are in a relationship, so be it. What Reagan doesn't count on is losing her heart. Will the summer tour heal broken hearts?
What I Liked:
- I thought that Open Road Summer was a sweet, light read full of everything you love in a good contemporary. I loved the focus on friendship and the slow moving romance. If you are looking for a solid last minute summer read, get this one.
- I know many readers have had some issues with the main character, Reagan. Reagan isn't a sweet, innocent good girl hooking up with a bad boy, instead the roles are reversed. Reagan is a bit of a bad girl. She was abandoned by her mother when she was eight, and then she practically raised herself until her father decided to get sober when she was twelve. Reagan is tough as nails and she has a prickly exterior. She likes few people, and her one true constant is her best friend, Dee. Reagan is coming out of a bad relationship, and she is not looking for love. She insists on wearing high heels and dresses provocatively, which is all part of her phony facade. Plus there is a lot of focus on her preening and primping. Reagan is terrified to let the world see the real girl because she has some big trust issues. Reagan takes a great deal of time to warm up to, and she is not always the most likable character, but I did like getting to peek beneath her tough girl exterior and see the girl beneath. Not to mention she shows significant growth. In the end, she was a character that I ended up liking.
- Matt is in contrast, the opposite of Reagan. He is kind, sweet, goodhearted, the nice boy next door. He was a child star, and after some devastating events, he is trying to make a solo comeback. I liked how genuine and open he was, and that he could see past Reagan's tough girl exterior, and that he wasn't put off by her past or her actions. He is a swoon worthy love interest, and I couldn't help but love him.
- The romance starts out as an attraction before moving into antagonistic banter. It is a romance that takes its time building because of Reagan's trust issues. The more she pushes Matt away, the harder he pushes back. It is a romance that revolves around taking chances, opening up to another and learning to trust. Both parties have baggage and it takes them awhile to trust one another, but when they do, it is perfect and lovely. Now that doesn't mean the romance is happy throughout. It has its ups and downs, but in the end I was satisfied.
- I loved the strong focus on best friends. I liked how tight Dee and Reagan were and that they were always there for one another through the years. They are certainly a pair of opposites, but they are good for each other. It is nice to see a genuine friendship without petty jealousy. It would be so easy for Reagan to hate Dee because of her stardom, but she for the most part she doesn't.
- One of my favorite scenes in the book occurs at the end when Reagan starts being a bit kinder to her stepmother, which leads to a big revealing conversation. I loved when Reagan's stepmother opened up and called Reagan out. It was an impactful moment.
- It was an eye opening experience to see into the life of a music star. I appreciated that the author didn't make Dee's life all glitter and glamour. Instead she tackles some of the uglier sides of fame. The reader gets to see how detrimental the media can be with its hurtful stories based on rumor and speculation. Dee is a good girl from a loving family who has tried to do everything right, and then she is still the victim of vicious gossip. It makes you think twice about buying into the stuff you read or hear via the media. I liked how the author made you see the girl behind the fame, it makes you realize the sacrifices stars make, and it leaves you wondering is fame and fortune worth it?
And The Not So Much:
- I did have two issues with Reagan that were hard to overcome. The first was her provocative dressing and the way she criticized all other girls, aside from Dee, for the way they dressed, the way the acted or any other little negative aspect that she could glom on to and use in a critical way. Even though I think it was mostly because of the negative feelings she had about herself that she was turning outward, I didn't like how cruel she was. Second, there is a big incident with the romance toward the end. I thought her behavior was over the top and a bit childish as far as the way she handled it all. She was cutting off her nose despite her face and it got to be annoying.
- The book is rather open ended. I was left hanging with some unresolved issues. While I appreciated that it was realistic, because who knows how the future will unfold? I couldn't help but wanting more. I wanted to see down the road, how everything played out. Was it worth it? What about Dee and Jimmy? I need to know.
- Matt's best friend, Corinne, makes an appearance, causes some problems and then vanishes. I was curious as to what her true intentions were. Was she really harboring feelings or was it more of an attempt to make her feel better? What went down with her boyfriend? The whole set up with Corinne, didn't feel genuine, it felt like a convenient conflict, and from the get go, I knew what was going to happen the moment she appeared.
- This is a minor complaint, but I personally felt like some of the song lyrics were a bit cheesy. There weren't my favorite part of the book.
- I was kind of disappointed in the whole road trip aspect. I am all about a good road trip book, but this book lacks the road trip feel. Most of the cities are nothing more than mentions, but there are a few good descriptions. Since it is a tour, it doesn't have that road trip spontaneity that I love. I wouldn't consider this a good road trip book.
Open Road Summer is a nice, summery romance with plenty of emotion and feels. It has a delightful romance that is realistic and nice. It is a romance all about learning to open up and trust someone with your heart, and anyone who has suffered a broken heart knows just how hard that can be. If you are trying to hang onto summer and you need another romance that will leave you smiling, give Open Road Summer a go.
"Other people can't knock down the walls you've built, no matter how much they love you. You have to tear them down yourself because there's something worth seeing on the other side."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.