Monday, 23 March 2015

Open Road Summer, Emery Lord

Pages: 342
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: 3rd March 2015
Edition: US paperback, purchased

            Other Titles by this Author: The Start of Me and You

Two best friends...
Two broken hearts...
One summer that will change everything.

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. Her best friend, country superstar Dee Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Dee’s twenty-four-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing.

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. With miles to go before Reagan and Dee are ready to risk their hearts again, this summer will be one to remember.

I fell in love with Open Road Summer in a way that I haven’t in a very, very long time. I want to go back and read it afresh all over again.

This kind of summery, emotional US contemporary is my favourite and has been for as long as I can remember. I love the focus on the ups and downs of friendships, the slow burn or intense launch of a relationship and the hot, sprawling American summers. Novels like these give me the summers I fantasised about having as a teenager (okay, and now, as well) and I remembered that while reading Open Road Summer.

Reagan’s bitter, caustic tone sets a brilliant opening for the summer of country music and healing broken hearts. She’s a ‘bad girl’ with genuine offences, a previous community service sentence and a broken arm to show for it. Though Reagan is initially open about her tangles with the law, there are a few secrets - dark secrets – that had more of an effect on her heart and mind that her body. I loved the way her trust and affection grew with Matt, how she denied it to herself for so long and then eventually opened up her heart.

Then there’s Dee’s very different brand of heartbreak. Rising to superstardom at 17 means you miss out on a lot and it’s starting to have an effect on her. She pours her heart and soul into her song-writing (the lyrics included in the book are really brilliant!) and performing for her fans but that isn’t always quite enough. Dee has no freedom and very little control over her day to day life. I loved that Dee and Reagan took refuge in a summer of music and travelling and their friendship. They have a brilliant dynamic and I think that it was portrayed so authentically – they had ups and downs and said things they shouldn’t, but they had each other’s backs without question.

And after a scandalous rumour threatens to ruin Dee’s career, former-child star, cheeky, gorgeous Matt Finch comes to join the fun. I loved the chemistry between the three of them and I loved the scenes where they were just hanging around having fun, being teenagers during the summer of a lifetime. It was even better that it stayed intact even when Reagan and Matt started something up. Emery Lord has some serious skill.

Open Road Summer has restored my love of reading in some ways. I went back to my roots, read something for me and I was blown away by the way I felt about these characters, their relationships and their perfectly imperfect resolution.


Sophie 

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