Book Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Posted April 3, 2014 by Kara in book review, Kara / 4 Comments

Book Review: Open Road Summer by Emery LordOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord
Published by Walker on April 15th, 2014
Genres: contemporary, young adult
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

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.

Open Road Summer is one of my most anticipated contemporaries of 2014. So being approved for it was an exciting moment. I read it right away as I just couldn’t wait. But…as much as I loved most of it, it was also a VERY disappointing read for certain reasons. I do have quotes for that, but more on that later because I want to talk about the good stuff first.

The writing was…divine. It had this gorgeous quality to it that I loved. Not too purple but not too simple either. The balance was perfect. This type of writing is exactly what I look for in a book. I could see and smell all the settings in my mind. The mental imagery was perfect.

Perhaps my favorite part of Open Road Summer was the female friendship. It was strong, healthy, and devoted. It made me really long for a female friend that I was that close to. It was a give and take relationship, and I felt it was equal on both sides. Having a support system like that would be nice. I do have all my lovely blogger friends, but not having someone that lives close to me is rough on me at times. I wouldn’t mind having someone I could see regularly. This is why I am always trying to get one of my buddies to move by me. Haha. Not to mention, Dee was just the sweetest, cutest, most precious female character ever. I loved learning about her life and how she managed being famous with being a normal girl. I found it very realistic and loved seeing it from the inside out.

What I actually found very interesting was the author’s choice to write the book from Reagan’s perspective rather than Dee’s. It was an unusual choice and one that really made the book stand out and feel completely original. The book seemed to be mostly about Dee and through Reagan’s eyes. Yes, there was a very cute romance that I am sure many readers will ship, but I thought the main focus was the female friendship and the unusual way in which it was written. I LOVED THAT. Plus, who doesn’t love road trip books?

That was the good stuff. Now for the bad stuff. Or really, there was just one thing (spread throughout the book) that REALLY pissed me off. Girl on girl hate. I hate it. It sucks. It’s shallow, it’s hateful, and it’s disgusting. The protagonist employs this tactic early on and never stops until close to the end of the book. So, Reagan? Yeah, not really a fan. I started out liking her, but her nastiness to other girls made me start to hate her pretty quickly. And naturally, that is going to hurt my reading experience overall.  By the way, I have quotes. I missed the ones that kicked off early on, but I can tell you what happened.

Reagan was at a live show to watch Matt perform the day before he became Dee’s tour opener. She repeatedly chose to criticize his female fans standing in the audience, reducing herself to calling them skanks and bitches. To me, this is more of a reflection on Reagan than the women she is criticizing. She looked like a nasty person, which is why I hated her. So, quotes.

I’m only a few steps in when I spot Matt on the dance floor, swinging around some leggy brunette in a thigh-grazing black dress. I survey her appearance, which is so obvious–long hair in full curls, skintight dress, and stacked heels. This look is amateur, the one I’d resort to if I was feeling lazy. I thought Matt had better taste than that.

YUCK. That is freaking awful and it pisses me off all over again. Just so nasty. Jealousy does not look pretty on you, sweetheart.

There are a few girls in the front with shirts cut so low that they make my neckline look modest. Like, honestly–if Matt so much as glanced down, he could probably see all the way to their belly buttons. Some girls have no self-respect, and even though they can’t see me, I make a face of disgust. Case in point: if Matt and I were together, I’d have to put those girls in their places. And I really can’t afford another misdemeanor. 

You are terrifying, Reagan. I would be soooo scared of you. Or not. Also, so because girls are showing off their boobs it means they have no self respect? Give me a fucking break. And trust me, sweetie, Matt is looking down. He’s a MAN.

There is plenty more with that came from and there are some examples that are even worse than that. It’s just disgusting. She hated all females that weren’t Dee. You CANNOT date a male celebrity if you are that jealous and insecure. And it’s one thing if she would have realized her mistakes at the end of the book, but she never did. Can we please get rid of the girl on girl hate in YA books and set better examples for our teen girls? It just makes me sad.

Yeah, and that’s all I got. I have to give it a 3 because that really, REALLY affected my enjoyment of the book.

4 responses to “Book Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

  1. I’ve been really looking forward to this one, too. I know a lot of my friends are loving this and still plan to pick it up, but girl-on-girl hate is quickly becoming one of my least favorite things, too. I actually talk about shut shaming a little bit in the post I put up today. Working closely with teenagers has made me really look at the ways in which girls treat each other, and I really do wish that authors would stop writing about this type of hatred and using words like slut or whore. I’m about to go into major rant mode–so I’m just going to stop there.

    On the plus side, I absolutely adore when books focus on a strong female friendship. I live across the country from my best friend of over 20 years and while we talk and text and visit each other sometimes, it definitely isn’t the same as having a close girlfriend that lives near you. I have friends from school and whatever, but there isn’t anything like those childhood or college friends that know you so well. It’s harder as you grow older to develop friendships because your life is just so full of other things like work or your significant other.

    I’ll stop babbling now. Great review! It’s too bad that it didn’t live up to its potential due to bad behavior.

    • Yeah, me too. There was a little slut shaming in this book, but it was mostly just the negativity that grossed me out.

      And then yeah, there was the strong female friendship in this book as well so it made me wonder how a book could be so two-faced!

  2. I love how vivid this book was for you due to the writing and I too LOVE reading about positive female friendships – yay!

    The girl-hate is a bit of a downer, I don’t mind it if it’s used to illustrate how a character is, as long as there’s growth throughout the story, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case here.

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