Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Walker Books | Hardcover, 342 pages
April 15th, 2014
Young Β Adult | Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Smitten. Absolutely smitten. This book is everything you need to spend your day in the lazy comfort of your pyjamas with a cup of tea or coffee. It is mindless entertainment at its finest; while managing to squeeze your heart in small painful increments. To be perfectly honest, it took me a while to decide on what kind of rating I should give this book. This is one of those instances when the rating came with some heavy deliberation. While I didn’t rate it begrudgingly, the book made me question the folly of defining my reading experience by a number. Come to think of it, I’ve been doing plenty of that lately.

Open Road Summer is a story about a couple of friends smarting from their recent respective broken hearts. Reagan just got rid of the cancer that was her ex-boyfriend, while Dee got unceremoniously dumped by her childhood sweetheart. This summer, they decided that they will try to heal each other through the salve of their friendship; because boys will come and go, but their bond is stronger than most. Reagan just didn’t anticipate Matt Finch to crash their Boys Suck party.

Reagan is an admirable girl who saw the truth of how she was ruining her life by acting out. Before it was too late, she realized exactly how fruitless her actions were. The only person that she was hurting was really the only person she would protect with her own life, and that’s Dee. Because even with her run-ins with the law, or the obvious cry for help, there are a lot things her father didn’t know about her – not the way Dee knows her anyway. Reagan is far from perfect: she’s rough, unapologetic, and immature in some ways. But her staunch loyalty knows no bounds.

I love their friendship; it’s the kind that even some siblings fail to achieve. They leave the judging for other people outside of their two-person circle. I also love the contrast between characters, and how it worked so flawlessly. It was not contrived in anyway. Dee is the complete opposite of Reagan. Where Reagan is balls-out fierce, Dee is the quiet sufferer. But try to dictate her life and she’ll tell you exactly where you should go. I really felt for Dee and Jimmy. I wish there was a book about them before this. I think a prequel of how their relationship started, and its eventual end would be just the perfect preamble for this book.

Open Road Summer is perfect in the way it’s meant to be written. Readers will fall in love with this story of friendship, broken hearts, and new beginnings. I suspect Emery Lord have found a niche in the annals of contemporary romance. It’s hard to believe this Β is her first novel.

  • I agree, I can’t believe this is Emory Lord’s debut! I loved every second of it and how it had so much to offer readers – friendship, romance, endings, beginnings, music, travel, drama, etc. I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this novel too! Seriously, the friendship was so perfectly written and the romance was absolutely adorable, totally winning me over. Plus, unlike most “rock star” novels which focus heavily on fame, it focused on actual relationships which worked far better. Wonderful review! πŸ™‚

  • I am on the other hand smitten with your review, J.! :))) Adding it to my wishlist as it sounds marvelous!

  • Confession – I hate this cover, and I would normally never pick up this book, based on the synopsis. But…I’m seeing so many glowing reviews, I decided I needed to give it a chance. I’m still a bit skeptical, so I’ll be getting it from the library, rather than buying it. πŸ™‚

    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

    • Yeah, that cover is way too sweet for this. *chews nails* I don’t know. I’d normally put my book reccing card on the line for this one, but because it’s you, I’m not sure. You’re kind of an unpredictable reader…which I love. πŸ™‚ So as much as I’d say, go ahead, you won’t be disappointed, I can’t predict what you’ll love, dear Stephanie. <3

  • My eyes always twist when I see that cancer in any way comes into play. It does sound so achingly sweet though. I know what you mean about defining your reading experience by numbers sometimes I really hate doing it.

    • Oh whoops. Different kind of cancer. πŸ™‚ Just a big, black sore of a person who contaminates everything around him. That’s Reagan’s ex.

  • I loved this one too! It took so many elements I like in a book — snarky girl and sweet guy, female friendship, and music themes– and just did them really well!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

    • I know! I rarely gush about a contemporary read that at first glance may be just another book in a long list of summer romance, but this one really stood out. Props to the author, for sure.

  • Faye M.

    This sounds another meaningful read again. Is it me or is there an influx of really good contemporaries this 2014? I loved this review of yours. I think you captured the book in its raw entirety. Now even more excited to read this one!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    • I just really love how Reagan puts a break on herself before she goes and makes the same mistakes. I think it’s a novelty in this genre.

      Thanks, Faye. πŸ˜‰

  • Alright, Joy, you’ve convinced me that I need this in my life. I wasn’t sure that this would be that great. But I trust your judgement. Onto the top of my TBR this one goes!

    • I’m going to bring this book on our next meet-up. You can borrow it along with What I Thought Was True! Seriously. This is one is a must-read!

  • It’s nice to have an evolving friendship in a story mainly one like this one. I’m really curious about them I confess, Reagan sounds like an interesting character and it’s nice that she is able to see the consequences of her acts because it’s not often the case in books. But it must be heartbreaking to see she is hurting her friend…

    • Yes, exactly! That’s why I love Reagan. You see her past dictate her present in a good way. She thinks before she acts! That’s rare.

  • YAY! I’m so happy you loved this one. I completely adored it too. It was undoubtedly the friendship between Dee and Reagan that really made this book for me. Their relationship was so adorable and I loved how loyal they were to each other.

    ” I wish there was a book about them before this.”

    THIS! I’ve been begging the author for this in my review. I really would love a Dee and Jimmy story. They have a lot to tell according to me.

    Great review, Joy!

    • Right? We should start a petition! At least give us a novella or something.

  • Sounds like a great, beautiful contemporary with a great character romance and friendship, I love the sound of this Joy! Thanks for the wonderful review.

    • You’re welcome, Jeann. This one is one of those can’t-afford-to-miss books!

  • 5/5!!! I want it – it sounds so good. I think I have it on my to-read list… and if not, I’m adding it right now πŸ™‚ Thanks!

    • I hope you’ll love it too, Victoria. It’s such an awesome book. πŸ™‚

  • Alise (Readers in Wonderland)

    Well, I need this. A good friendship AND romance? That sounds so great! Plus it seems like there was a lot of character development going on.

    • Yes, especially with Reagan. You can actually see it before your eyes. You’ll see her think of the possible consequences of her action before she acts. It’s ingenious almost, considering much of the teen novels has characters balls-out getting into situations that they rarely gave a thought before hand. πŸ˜‰

  • Christy

    Okay, getting this. I’m going to try to read this within the next 2 weeks. I’m pretty sure I’m going to love Reagan.

    • Oh man, Christy. If you’ve been burned by my book recc’s in the past, I’m 100% sure, this one is a winner. Read this soon!

  • Yours is the second rave review I’ve seen of this one! It hadn’t even been on my radar, but now I obviously need to pick it up. Happy, summery books are among my favorites. πŸ™‚

    Also, pyjamas. πŸ™‚ I love that spelling!

    • Lol! I usually spell it with an “a” but it kept on correcting me! I guess I should’ve just wrote pjs. πŸ™‚

      Also, yes! Read this!

  • Glad you enjoyed this book so much. It’s been awhile I’ve picked something from the YA genre. I guess the more I’m getting older the less is my patience for immature characters, but your review makes me wanna pick this book up. Will check it out πŸ™‚

    • Oh well, this one has a teen rebel on a reform so she might irritate you a little bit. πŸ˜‰

  • Yay this one worked for you! I’ve seen this around, so I’m glad it’s good. I’m going to check if my library has it. I want to read about a good best friend dynamic! πŸ˜€

    • I hope your library has a copy, Marianne. It’s such a wonderful, romantic book. πŸ˜‰

  • I’m so happy this one worked for you and that you were a fan of it! I keep seeing everyone rate this one five stars and i keep hearing good things about it so i know i have to pick it up myself whenever i have the time. I’m so happy this one deals with friendship because i love YA books that do that and Matt Finch seems like a pretty cool dude i’m going to serouisly swoon over and i can’t wait to meet him!
    Great review!

    • Matt Finch is a great guy! I hope you’ll be able to read it soon, Lily. Believe the hype. πŸ™‚ Lol.

  • Yay! I’m so glad to see you enjoyed this one as much as I did. It was so much fun. I never re-read books, as I honestly just don’t have the extra time… but I consider re-reading this one again, just for fun. πŸ™‚ Great review!

    • Thanks, Lisa. What is not to love about this book, eh? I wanted to re-read it as well soon after I was done. πŸ™‚

  • Aww. I am so glad you loved this book πŸ˜€ I am not sure about it yet, but you make me want to read it. <3 So happy it was amazing for you. That is always good when it comes to books, lol. I do agree that it sounds pretty sweet and awesome. Sigh. And I do like the cover πŸ˜€ Thank you for sharing Joy. <3

    • You have to read this one, Carina. I know you’re not a fan of contemporary but the romance is oh so so sweet!

      • Sweet romance? Ohh. Agh. Fine. When I somehow find the money to buy it πŸ™‚

  • I also liked the contrast of the two best friends and thought it had the decent amount of emotion, but it still felt pretty light and the summer feel

  • I hadn’t even heard of this before, I’ll definitely need to consider reading it, it sounds like the perfect summer read!

    • You must, Candace. It’s one of those you can’t miss!

  • You definitely convinced me! I already had this on my TBR list, but now I’ve upgraded it to my Random Reads list (which is where I put the books I want to read sooner rather than later). πŸ™‚

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  • I really want to read this one Joy! This review makes me want to pick it up for a great summer read πŸ™‚

    Happy Reading!

    • It is a great summer read. I hope you’ll have a chance to read it soon.

  • I so want to read this book! it looks like the perfect summer read.
    Fantastic review!

    • Thank you. I hope you’ll enjoy it. πŸ˜‰