Open Road Summer hits all the right notes for a fun summer contemporary read.
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord focuses on Reagan O’Neill, a tough girl who recently suffered a bad breakup, as she joins her country superstar best friend on a summer tour. When Matt Finch, a former boy band member, joins the tours, Reagan finds herself reverting back the her old ways. Throughout the summer, Reagan learns the values of friendship, family, and keeping your heart open.
When I picked up Open Road Summer, I expected a fun and lighthearted read perfect for the summer time. While Open Road Summer was a quick and easy read, it also provided much more depth and heart than I expected. While the plot of this book suggests a typical YA read, it avoided many cliches present in similar books. Even though there were some aspects of this book that I did not enjoy, Open Road Summer is an overall great read for a road trip!
In many books similar to Open Road Summer, the main character is shy, awkward, and known as a “good girl.” I was pleasantly surprised that Reagan did not fit into any of these categories. Reagan is a party girl who loves to have a good time and isn’t afraid throw jabs. After several traumatic events in her life, Reagan puts on a tougher-than-nails persona that isn’t s prevalent in contemporary books. While Reagan is a very real character, sometimes her personality is a little too much. Especially at the end of the novel, Reagan’s actions seemed a little over the top and her character slightly annoyed me.
As for the other characters in the novel, I enjoyed how Emery Lord provided more depth than stereotypical character. Reagan’s best friend, Lilah Montgomery, is known as a “sweet country girl” but we’re shown a lot more sides to her within the novel. Even though Lilah isn’t the main character, she shows a lot of growth throughout the novel. Lilah was much more than the best friend’s sidekick egging her friend to date the cute boy in the novel, so I really appreciated the authentic friendship Emery Lord developed between Lilah and Reagan throughout the novel.
While I really liked Matt Finch, Reagan’s love interest, he didn’t particularly stand out to me. His characters and the plot surrounding him were the most stereotypical and underdeveloped in the novel. Matt Finch is the perfect YA boyfriend: he is nice, took care of his sick mother, and keeps coming back to Reagan no matter how she treats him. My least favorite part of his story line was when his childhood best friend and former crush, Corrine, appears in the last quarter of the novel. It seemed like she was only introduced to cause once last drama between Matt and Reagan and it was my least favorite part of the entire book.
Overall, Open Road Summer is a fun summer read, especially for country music fans. I enjoyed many aspects of this book, especially parts that strayed from other similar books. I give Open Road Summer four out of five stars.