Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

March 24, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 24 ★★★★★

Open Road SummerOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord
Published by Walker Children's on April 15th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Buy the Book
<p>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.</p>
<p>“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</p>

The first thing you should know about Open Road Summer for me is that it was one of my most anticipated reads of 2014. No lie. There is just something about a road trip, music, and a cute boy next door type musician that screams, “READ ME!” I can’t even explain the excitement I felt when the package arrive. I immediately dropped everything and turned to page one. And then basically spent the next day or two falling in love.

The book opens up with our main character boarding the tour bus of her best friend, the country music singer, Delilah. Fresh after a bad breakup, Reagan is ready for a change, a chance to turn her life around and become more of the person she wants to be. So these girls embark on a summer long journey together, both needing to reflect on their life and what makes them happy.

There is nothing more refreshing in a YA novel for me than a strong family or friendship presence. Reagan and Delilah were just a joy to read, friends through thick or thin. They didn’t push each other to do things the other wanted. They genuinely supported each others’ decisions. So much loyalty was shown between them and I admired their connection. It was beautiful to read, truly. If their friendship wasn’t enough, we are also introduced to another great friend dynamic with one Matt Finch, who was brought on for support and to open for Delilah’s shows after some negative press caused her some hiccups and stress about her image. He fit right in and once again I was blown away but how genuine and caring these characters were towards a friend in need.

Individually, everyone shined. Reagan was snarky and tough with her built up walls and fear of letting people in. But she was very likable and I greatly enjoyed how we entered the book with her already working on a life turnaround from her past. Delilah was just plain sweet. She reminded me quite a bit of Taylor Swift in many ways in regards to her fame. She was confident and independent but also vulnerable and craving normalcy. Matt Finch is imperfectly perfect. He’s flawed and I liked that. He isn’t particularly smooth but almost more adorable in a dorky way at times. Adorkable! But his story about his mom and tattoo… *heart clench* And he writes songs!

As far as the romance, I was sold. There was no jumping into it head first, instead Reagan really needed to warm up to the idea of opening her heart and not letting the fear of heartache hold her back. Because she was so hesitant, it often lead to some hilarious moment between her and Matt. She was bound and determined to push him away but it wasn’t annoying in the least. And part of that reason is because Matt found it so amusing! When they do get together? *dreamy sigh*

    It’s not the first time he’s run his hands through my hair, almost absentmindedly. Normally I’d pull away from being petted like a house cat, but it isn’t like that. His fingers weave through my hair the way he touches his guitar strings, as if I’m something cherished, something he’s connected to. Instead, I stare back at him, at his salt lake eyes and the strong lines of his face. In coming on tour, I had hoped to find escape – enough distance to figure out how to start over. I still don’t know the whens and hows of repairing my own life. But I know that Matt Finch makes me want to feel everything. Instead of numbing myself in any variety of ways, I want each sensation; I want to feel the way they pool together – his touch and smell, the sound of his voice. I want the tipsiness, the giddy ache that comes as he slides his thumb across my lower lip, as his eyes fixate on my mouth.

If loving the journey of the read wasn’t enough, the ending solidified it for me. There were moments that truly touched me, leaving my eyes a little on the misty side. But there were also moments of giddy glee that left me smiling from ear to ear. I adored how realistically it ended and I applaud the author for writing such a beautiful story about friendship and living. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

    I dig the toe of my shoe into the dirt. “It’s complicated.”
“Is it? Most complicated things in life are actually pretty simple at the core. We put so much extra nonsense in the middle that we can’t even see how easy it really is.”


About Emery Lord

Emery Lord is a 20-something Midwestern girl who writes stories about high school and best friends and weird families and the crushes that make you feel combustibly alive and also more awkward than you thought was possible. If you’re not sure how to pronounce Emery, try slurring the name “Emily,” and that will get you really close.

She lives in Cincinnati in a 100 year-old pink row house with her BFF/husband, a closet full of dresses, and lots of books. If karaoke-ing in grocery store aisles or guzzling coffee while impulse shopping were illegal, Emery would be writing her overemotional YA books from jail. Also, she makes up words sometimes. Like combustibly.

OPEN ROAD SUMMER, her first YA novel, is out April 15th, 2014. A second YA novel TBD will be released Spring 2015. You can contact her at

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

24 Responses to “Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord”

  1. Rachel

    I felt the same way! In fact, you mentioned pretty much everything I brought up in my own review. The friendship aspect was amazing. I thought she did a really great job showing the importance of friendships, especially at that age. And the relationship between Matt and Reagan was so healthy and perfect and just ahhhh. I’m glad you loved it 🙂
    Rachel recently posted…Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh MafiMy Profile

  2. Jasprit

    This is such a gorgeous review Sara! I’ve had my eye on this book for sometime now, so I’m glad that you really ended up loving this. The characters sound hugely relatable, but also ones which leave the greatest impression with you! I will definitely be pr-ordering this pretty!
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: Unsticky by Sarra ManningMy Profile

  3. Milka

    I adored this book! It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me fall in love and it made me love my best friend even more. I feel like some YA contemporaries take the “easy road” by being too cliche or too predictable, relaying on friendships, family relationship and love interests that are not very realistic. This one did not do that, but presented us with characters that are real, honest and flawed and thus really interesting! I’ve been praising this book to everyone I meet, hoping that it gets all the attention it deserves 🙂
    Milka recently posted…I Wrote This For You by pleasefindthisMy Profile

  4. Lily

    Those two quotes are so perfectly perfect their perfect (don’t judge that sentence my brain feels like mush after reading that first quote). haha, but serouisly this is one of my most anticipated reads for next month since every one is raving about it and i just WANT it. i’m so happy to hear this one didn’t disapoint you! now i just need it THAT much more.
    Lily recently posted…Maybe, Someday: ReviewMy Profile

  5. Ariel T

    Awesome review! I’m so glad that you liked this one. I’m not a huge fan of YA Contemporary novels, but I’ve heard tons of positive things about Open Road Summer, so I’m actually really excited to read it!

  6. starryeyedjen

    Adored this book, absolutely adored it! I can’t wait to read more from this author if this is her DEBUT! The friendship, the romance, the music! So much awesome! And I loved those quotes you included. Perfect!
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