Thursday, April 9, 2015

Throwback Thursday (#4): Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Let's travel back to April 2, 2014 and my review of Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Release date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Walker Children's/Bloomsbury US
Age group: YA
Pages: 368
Description (from Goodreads):
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O'Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. 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 healing hearts and break-up ballads.

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 this growing genre, Emery Lord's gorgeous debut hits all the right notes of contemporary romance.

Reagan's heart has been broken and her rebellious spirit and desire for fast life of parties and booze has driven her to a point in which she realizes that in order to start again, she needs to leave home behind and look for a new beginning. When Reagan's best friend, a rising country superstar invites Reagan to join her on her summer tour the summer vacation before Reagan's senior year, Reagan packs her bags and moves to the road with Dee (to public known was Lilah). The US-wide tour of different cities and arenas, stadiums and audiences gives Reagan the perfect chance to start again, to clear her head, and to spend time with her best friend.

Dee's life isn't only rainbows and sunshine either. Though she loves her career, the publicity of it all gets more and more difficult for her - everything she does, wears and says is inspected by the public. Like Reagan, she is also suffering from heart break and having her best friend on the tour with her gives them a chance to spend time together and forget boys for a while. But when rumors about her relationships, both past and current, start to appear on magazines, the record label has to maneuver an emergency publicity trick to keep up Dee's "girl-next-door" image. 

Perfect, charming, talented and handsome Matt Finch with his good looks and boy-next-door charm is invited to the tour to open for Dee while posing as his potential new lover. Dee welcomes Matt to the tour with open arms - they are friends, and she knows that she can trust Matt. And though they don't have any romantic feelings towards each other, they don't completely say no to the faux relationship, just to make Dee's publicist's live a bit easier. Reagan is not so sure about Matt - he is handsome, kind and more talented than she thought he would be, but she still feels like Matt might be there just to gain more publicity and push for his own career. But as they spend more time together, it becomes more and more difficult for Reagan to say no to Matt and his charm. 

I loved everything about this book. Reagan is strong, funny and independent, but also has some issues she needs to deal with. She is prejudiced, stubborn and afraid to show her true nature to people. She has trust issues and it seems like the only person she can count on is Dee. The friendship between Dee and Reagan is not perfect, but it is clear they love and trust each other. When Matt joins the tour, he is still going through a major loss and heart break, but the more and more he spends time with Reagan, he realizes that he might he healing, or at least enjoying life again. 

I loved how Emery Lord takes her time to establish these characters and these relationships. With a concept like this there is always the danger of being too cliche, too predictable and cheesy. I feel like she avoids this by creating real and honest characters who have their flaws and obstacles. Though Matt is dreamy, he is not perfect. Though Reagan is witty and strong, she is also temperamental and rebellious to an extent that hurts people around her. Lord's characterization and language are spot on and the way she builds the story makes you want to read the book on one sitting. The lyrics and the world of music are excellently integrated to the story and really give more insight to both the world these characters inhabit and as well as the relationships between them.

So put some country music on, kick back and enjoy this wonderful debut by a very talented author! 

I fell so in love with this book that I had to make an 8tracks mix inspired by it. This will, for sure, be one of my main playlists for the summer.

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