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Road Trip Read | Book Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

The summer read that wasn’t: Open Road Summer

Book Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

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open road summer emery lord book review

Title & Author: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary, Road Trip, Romance

Release Date: April 15, 2014

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Bloomsbury

How I Got the Book: Bought


“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.”

That Moment When…

…you just don’t get it. I’m saying up front that I didn’t “get” Open Road Summer like the majority of other readers (Goodread-ers and bloggers) who loved it.

I thought it was a perfectly fine book, but I didn’t connect with the characters, the romance or the whole set-up.

Reagan is taking a break from her life – filled with bad boys and even worse decisions – to go on tour with her bestie, Dee, who’s a pop, country crossover sensation (who also has a goody-goody persona…sound like a real life singer we know?). The trouble is, Reagan’s best friend-only time is ruined when Matt Finch joins the tour…and threatens her vow to stay away from trouble this summer.

Touted as a perfect road trip read, I actually couldn’t agree less. To me, a road trip book is a story that is partially about the characters but also very much about the scenery and new places. The majority of Open Road Summer takes place inside a tour bus, hotels rooms and backstage make-up areas.

Not exactly awe-inspiring places.

This wouldn’t have been a big deal had the story been able to make up for the lack of locations. Although Reagan and Dee’s friendship is so sweet and lovely – and something I wish I saw more of in YA – it fell flat to me.

I felt like I was reading the story with a glass wall between myself and the characters. I could see everything they were doing, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t connect with it. I had no favorite characters and was not emotionally invested any of their lives.

Aside from the awesome friendship, the biggest redemptive quality of the book is Matt Finch and his growth through the pages. He’s got some actual depth and has some truly likable qualities.

Second Opinions

Because I’m in the clear minority, I think you all are owed a second opinion.

Here are a few:

  • “I liked Open Road Summer so much! This book made me smile and swoon, and wish that I had a best friend musician to take me on tour with her in her souped-up bus.” – Lauren, Love is Not A Triangle
  • “I loved Open Road Summer fiercely. The romance is sweet and utterly shippable, but, even more, Open Road Summer is a powerful and touching story of friendship.” Christina, A Reader of Fictions
  • “Open Road Summer is one of two books I am hereby declaring as THE books you must have in your beach bag this summer if you love contemporary YA.” Jamie, The Perpetual Page-Turner

There. My guilt over not liking this book is assuaged.


Aside from a rare and fun BFF situation, this book was just not for me. I love light, fun summer reads, but I don’t think this one qualifies between the flat characters and total lack of actual scenery. I’m a COMPLETE outlier, so please get find some third opinions if needed. Open Road Summer was just not my cup of tea.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    At least you liked it a *little* bit 😉 This one was one of my favorites so far this year, and I can’t stop raving about it, but to each their own! I totally agree that Matt was my favorite part of the book – especially the development towards the end.