Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Open Road Summer

Title: Open Road Summer
Author: Emery Lord
Goodreads Rating: 3.95 Stars
Format: Finished Copy from Bloomsbury

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.

 There is no better feeling in the world than finding a book you immediately feel at home with. Whether it be the characters you trust implicitly, or the writing that draws you in, there's something almost magical about adoring a book from the first few pages. Of course there's nothing wrong with working to love a book, as long as you still feel a pull to keep reading.

Open Road Summer  by Emery Lord is one hell of a debut. It's the type of novel that I want to reread over and over again or just jump into. I can see myself hanging out with Dee and Reagan (and Matt Finch) just as easily as I can with my own family or best friends. It's because they're so well written. Even though Reagan has rough edges and scars, Matt seems to be too good to be true, and Dee seems separated by her super-stardom, these characters are incredibly authentic and true. There wasn't one moment that I felt like we were stumbling through a cliche or reading an overdone trope. Emery Lord has flipped friendship, romance and contemporary novels. I love that Reagan is the best friend instead of the star, that she stands behind walls so tall and guarded that most people have to stand on tip-toes just to see her (literally and figuratively, of course because this girl loves heels). I absolutely adore that Matt is not just a charming southern boy (Spoiler alert, he's from Chicago). He's just as complex as our protagonist and it's so entertaining to watch them learn to trust not only each other and themselves. And heal.

This book has been reviewed by all my favorite blogs so I don't how what to do except to urge you to read this. Even if you don't like contemporaries, even if you don't like books about music, or swoony boys, you need to pick this book up. I can promise you that it will have a coveted front and center spot on your shelf (makeshift or otherwise). It's too good. You should read this after a break-up, at the start of a relationship, when you feel sad and when you feel happy. You're guaranteed to grin like a five-year-old at Christmas and try to make ridiculously music to the amazing lyrics that Emery imagined. Seriously, this author is so talented. After this, you'll be begging Bloomsbury for a copy of The Start of Me and You  just to see what she came up with next (and trust me, it's amazing).

If you read one book this year, make sure it's Open Road Summer. 

And because I couldn't resist, I really wanted to post a playlist. This novel calls for girl anthems and folk songs and swoony country. If you jam out while reading like I do, check out these songs:
Open Road Summer Playlist:

"No Good" by Kate Voegele- This song is Reagan made over. I dare you to listen to it and not think of her.
"Overdrive" by Katy Rose- This song reminds me of characters who take no crap and kickass. So, you know: Reagan.
"I Want Crazy" by Hunter Hayes- Quintessential Country song. I like to think of Matt Finch. But I think I always like to think of Matt Finch.
"Fearless" by Taylor Swift- Could I have gotten away with making a playlist without mentioning T. Swift?
"The Story" by Brandi Carlisle- There's something so beautiful and lonely about this song that just worked for these characters.
"Suddenly I See" by K.T. Tunstall- Works for Dee or Reagan, maybe?
Stars and Boulevards by Augustana- I have no idea how this made it on the playlist but it just worked so well for this book.
"Summer Girl" by Jessica Andrews- Super fun and catchy.
"Wanted" by Jesse James- THIS SONG. PERFECT.
"Vindicated" by Dashboard Confessional- I'm thinking of Reagan here. Again. 
"Hard to Love" by Lee Brice- Song from R to M? Or even maybe M to R.
"All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers- I mean the title alone works.
"When the Stars Go Blue" by Tyler Hilton and Bethany Joy Lenz- I think I finished reading this book while listening to this song and just, I don't recommend that combination in public, guys.
"The Remedy" by Jason Mraz- It's uplifting. And hopeful.
"Nothin' Better To Do" by Leann Rimes- There needed to be a Leann Rimes song on this playlist. And this works.
"Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum- Oh, this song. This is for Dee. Kind of.
"Mr. Brightside" by The Killers- I like to imagine Dee and Reagan blaring this song on that big tour bus and rocking out.

Whew, done. That's a lot. And listening to this, you'd think that the only songs I have on my iPod come from the early to mid '00s.
Bonus: I couldn't stop thinking about this picture while thinking of Matt Finch. I mean, come on. Holy gods of flannel it works.

The Court's Decision:

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