Publisher: Walker (Bloomsbury)
Release Date: April 15th, 2014
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.
"[This book will] teach you so much about yourself, about your perception of the world, about your perception of fame, and about the importance, strength, and power of true friendship."
Disclaimer: I won an ARC of this book from the author in a giveaway. This did not impact my thoughts at all, nor am I being compensated for this review.
I just have to start off by saying that I don't know if I would've ever thought twice about this book if I saw it at the library or in a store. If you're thinking the same thing, DON'T. This is now one of my favorite books ever, and I highly recommend it. If it's not on your TBR list and/or if you haven't pre-ordered it yet, GO DO THAT because you need this book.
I don't know how calmly I can write this review because even after almost a month, I'm still flailing over the amazingness of this book. I don't even know where to begin.
First, there's the plot, I suppose. I love the premise of Open Road Summer, and I think it offers a unique look into the life of a teen star. It's really interesting to be able to see both sides of things, ranging from privacy to fame to love to gossip and to everything else. Reagan and Dee/Delilah/Lilah are so different yet they're the best of friends. At first glance, you might not understand why Dee would be friends with Reagan when it seems like she has nothing substantial to offer and it feels like an unbalanced friendship. But as the story goes on, you realize just how much they need one another. And their friendship is just so strong. If there's one thing this book is about, it's about friendship and about learning to forgive others, as well as yourself. Their friendship and their journey together will make you laugh, cry, get angry, and so much more. But it's also inspiring to see how strong their bond is and how long-lasting it is.
As much as the focus of this book is on friendship, it's also about love and acceptance and forgiveness. Reagan can be hard to love, both to the reader and to the characters within the story. There were times when she just annoyed the heck out of me, but I always understood her and where she was coming from, as much as I wanted to smack some sense into her. Her relationship with Matt really blossoms and grows, and I can't get over their perfection. Well, except that they aren't perfect. Their imperfection is what makes the pair perfect. They play off of one another's personalities, but they also help one another with their individual struggles. There's something so powerful about their relationship and about how they accept one another and help one another (this also ties to Matt's friendship with Dee and Reagan's friendship with Dee). Reagan helps Matt through his struggles, and he helps her to learn to accept what happened to her and to accept her past decisions. In doing so, they both learn how to forgive themselves for their mistakes. That's so human and so real, and I loved every moment of it. But even besides all the deep stuff, as I stated, their personalities played off of one another's really well. They're both snarky and sassy, and I love their banter. It's so obvious when they're flirting, and it makes my heart melt to pieces.
Another powerful aspect of the book is the way the characters come to grow and change. None of them are perfect, and they each carry their own struggles. But as you read the book, you'll come to see how much they all change that summer. Reagan learns to be more receptive of others and to accept help and support. She learns that not all love is bad. She learns that she can move on from the past. She learns that friendship means more to her than she's ever known. Matt learns how to help others (even more so than he already knows how to). He learns to let go of the death of someone close to him. He learns how to be his own individual person after childhood fame. Dee learns to deal with negative side effects to fame. She learns how to be there when people need her, but she also learns to ask for help. She learns that she can be strong and brave and be her own person, but she also realizes that she has to take the initiative and the first step sometimes. She learns to not let people go so easily. She learns that while she doesn't need a guy to tell her who she is and who she can be, it's okay to want someone too.
Lord's writing is beautiful and captivating. Her writing is so real, and you can't help but to root for the characters in the book. It'll teach you so much about yourself, about your perception of the world, about your perception of fame, and about the importance, strength, and power of true friendship. She mixes the plot well with musical elements, and the song lyrics that are scattered throughout make the book so much more impressive and in-depth (can you tell I just forgot the perfect word I was thinking of?). The music and lyrics complete the book and just makes everything even more impactful.
This book was just everything I wanted, needed, and more. It went above and beyond my expectations, and I'm so lucky to have won an annotated copy. There's a beauty to Emery Lord's writing, and I'm definitely going to be on the look-out for her future books, which I'm sure will be just as amazing. This is one book you don't want to miss!
PS. Here's the book trailer. I wanted to share it because my picture with my best friend is included in the video. :)