“It takes a long time to learn someone. It takes a long time to see a person as a whole spectrum, from worst to best—from the mismanaged heartache that lands them in AA to the pancake dinners, from the hurtful things shouted in a dressing room to the huge-hearted strength that only a best friend can understand. Once you get there, it’s forever.” (p.312)
There are plenty of books where the “nice” girl falls for the not so nice boy – but what about the reverse? One of my favourite things about Emery Lord’s Open Road Summer is that it features Reagan, who is a strong, rough around the edges female protagonist who falls for a Matt Finch, a guy who, while not perfect, is a kind hearted guy.
Reagen O’Neill is just your average girl who has recently gone through a horrible breakup. Fortunately, her friend, Delilah or “Dee”, is a country music superstar who has a 24 city tour, and invites Reagan to come along as both girls could use a distraction from their recent heartbreak. I loved that the friendship between Dee and Reagan was always their first priority and that they were always supportive of each other.
Having read quite a bit of YA books this year, I have to say I have yet to meet a protagonist like Reagan. She is fiercely loyal to those she loves and despite experiencing things that could be deemed as traumatizing, she remains quite honest to whom she is and she never lets herself be seen as a victim. Reagan’s best friend, Dee, is also easy to adore, possesses a quiet strength and a personality that provides a nice balance to Reagan. I love how she is able to love so deeply, even though her career often got in the way. Both girls are people whom I’d love to be friends with in real life.
The only thing I disliked was the following; there was more emphasis on romance rather than friendship near the end of the novel, although there is a nice scene with Reagan and Dee as well. Actually I lied; there is a second thing I disliked about this book – which was that I felt it ended too soon. Even as I turned the last page, I wanted more.
Open Road Summer to me is the epitome of a perfect summer read; it is a touching and sweet story about love, and friendship; and best of all, it features a road trip! I highly recommend this book to fans of YA contemporary as it is so far my favourite YA contemporary read of 2014.
If you like this book, you’ll love: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.