Book Talk: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord





book synopsis Reagan’s best friend is Lilah Montgomery, famous country singer who she knows as Dee, and they’ve planned to spend their summer together as Reagan heads out with her on tour all across the country. Reagan has gotten into some trouble and things are a mess so she’s happy to leave home behind and spend some quality time with Dee who also has been hurting in addition to having a soaring career. When Matt Finch, former teen heartthrob, joins the tour as the opening act Reagan finds herself potentially in trouble with this boy who seems to disarm her with his good looks and charming personality.


good books to read

Welcome to part 2 of Jamie Gushes Entirely About Another Amazing Summer Read. (Part 1 was Monday with my review of Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone). If you call the book blogging world your stomping grounds, you’ve probably heard of Open Road Summer and all the love for it pre-publication. I had my copy for many many months but decided to hold off until nicer weather because it just seemed like the kind of book to kick off the warm season with…but all the glowing praise made it hard. But I’m so glad I waited because reading this book outside in 70 & 80 degree weather with a beer in my hand was WORTH it. My happiness meter was overflowing with the nice weather and this absolutely charming as hell story!

Listen, I know the entire universe has probably told you to read this book and you are going to want to skip my thoughts because your whole entire feed is talking about it but THERE IS A GOOD REASON so get yourself a beverage and let’s talk for a bit.

1. Open Road Summer is a book that just feels like it encapsulates what summertime feel like to me and will make you feel exuberant and all sorts of happy. I just want to bottle it up and keep it for a gloomy day. It was just a very charming book that will quickly make you long for summer days and adventures and summer love. There’s friendship and romance and adventure and music and being on the open road and it all just comes together to make your heart explode from LOVE AND HAPPINESS AND FEELINGS. It was just really a FUN story (I mean, who wouldn’t want to go on tour with their famous singer of a BFF all summer). So if you are looking for a book that makes you feel absolutely light and happy and will make you smile lots…this book. At one point I was even cry laughing. (at the end — OMG. Major points if you’ve read it and can guess which part I’m talking about).

2. YAY FRIENDSHIP!! I loved the friendship in Open Road Summer and how solid it was. There wasn’t any jealousy or backstabbing or any things of that sort and it was just really refreshing to read. Reagan is genuinely happy and supportive of her bff’s success and I love the way the two of them interact and how they are always there for each other. The premise just added a lot to the dimension of their friendship because they remained the same with each other despite her success which was really fun to see. I mean, I ALWAYS wonder about the bffs of famous people — like the bffs before they were famous. So it was just a really fun, down-to-earth friendship story in that aspect and it seriously made me 1) super jealous of their fun bff-ship and 2) nostalgic for my high school bff.

3. Emery Lord went zero to sixty and raced ahead to be neck in neck with some of my ALL TIME FAVORITE ROMANCES. That’s a big deal  for me to say. I mean, we are talking on the level of some that have been longstanding faves (Stephanie Perkins Anna & St. Clair, Gayle Forman’s Mia & Adam, etc.). I rarely change my favorite romances so I’m telling you…BIG THINGS HERE. For Matt Finch, I’d overcome my fear of needles and get a finch tattoo. I would. He’s the dream boy in book form — ridiculously sweet and romantic (seriously heart palpitations), sensitive, HE SINGS AND PLAYS INSTRUMENTS, he doesn’t take Reagan’s crap and calls her out on stuff and hes A NICE GUY. Genuinely and not boring. But the best part is how they interact. The banter. How Reagan can be so prickly about stuff but Matt Finch just sasses right back and totally make her tough exterior falter. I mean, Reagan gets mad when Matt writes a song about her when most of us would be flinging our panties right on stage…amirite? But I LOVED that about it. I thought the whole “he’s the faux boyfriend of my bff” thing was going to be more of a problem, and it was a tiny roadblock, but it wasn’t the huge forbidden-y love I thought it would be with major scandal. It was more her resistance to him that made the romance what it was. (Listen, I really shipped Dee and Jimmy wasn’t just the Reagan and Matt show — that’s how well Emery Lord does romance).


4. Reagan..I loved her. She’s a character who maybe isn’t the easiest to click with right away and could rub you the wrong way but I instantly loved her and her attitude. I so thought that this was going to be a case where Reagan was the quiet ordinary one with this super famous bff who was the one who stole the show but it wasn’t the case. Reagan has this really tough exterior — she’s been in some trouble lately, she’s been hurt by a guy, she has major hurt from her mom who up and left when she was younger and she could be quite prickly and judgy. But I loved her so much. I instantly felt this kinship with her for some reason. In some ways, she reminded me of myself at that age though I wasn’t getting into trouble much. But she was stubborn, had some of the same defense mechanisms and the way she got about all Matt’s mushiness is SO how I would have reacted then. I thought she was a solid character and I just loved her perspective a whole lot — her flaws and all — and I loved watching her just let go of some of that anger she held so close.

5. My only thing I wish is that the travel-y/road trip aspect was more: I know that it was a tour so a lot of what was going on was whirlwind stops in cities and tour buses but I had hoped for some good travely bits. My favorite was a part involved a lake but I just wanted maybe a few more parts like that. But it really isn’t like a BAD thin because the story was perfect but just something I had hoped for.


book reviewsI’m not even sorry that all I did was talk excitedly about this one. I mean, you don’t come here for super analytical book talk anyways right? But seriously..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 (the other is Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson). It’s fun romp across country in a tour bus with two best friends and one absolutely heart palpation inducing Matt Finch that is funny, romantic, happymaking and explores how we let people in & learn to trust when we’ve carefully constructed walls against that. But seriously if you are looking for a fun, feel good read about friendship, has a main character who is real & flawed and an absolutely adorable romance…this is it! I promise! All the hype is warranted.




short book reviewOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Did you DIE laughing at that part that included a Say Anything reference?? That whole part. And can we talk about the awesome parents (minus her real mom) in this book??

The Perpetual Page-Turner


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Added it to my TBR! 😀 It sounds wonderful! Great review Jamie!

  2. There was a lot of this book that I really liked, but I couldn’t stand Reagan. Okay, well I liked her at first, but when she met Matt and started hating on every girl that came within 100 feet of him, my opinion changed. I realize it’s realistic for a teenage girl to behave this way, but it still really left a poor taste in my mouth. Girl on girl hate and slut shaming are two things that I absolutely cannot handle in my book. And the fact that she never learns from it is what bothered me most. It was never seen as wrong. The female friendship aspect was so strong so the book seemed so contradictory to me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but all the yucky stuff really affected my enjoyment of the book. 🙁

    • Kara! Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

      It was something that I DEFINITELY noticed and actually have a whole post half written about how I wrestled with it (and other instances in books like it!) so I will def be interested in your opinion when I get my ass in gear to publish that.

      So I def noticed it…and like cringed. Cringed because YIKES and cringed because OMG THAT WAS ME in high school up until a few years ago. I think that is why I related to her so much because that was so my defense mechanism for my insecurities and my hurt. It could help me be like EH DON’T CARE HE LIKES HER BECAUSE LOOK AT HER SHE’S SUCH A HOE or it would make myself FEEL better if I was with guys and they were checking girls out to be like EW SLUT SLUT SLUT. My sister and I were the WORST with. I mean, we would go out (and my sister would wear the teeniest things and mine were short but maybe not as teeeny haha) and we would just be exactly like Reagan…even though girls could have totally been saying the same about us if they were judging by appearances. It took me a LONG LONG time to learn how wrong this was and how so unhealthy and harmful it is to ourselves and to ladies. So I guess, for me, I saw it as (because there was like ONE line that made me think she realized she was being judgy but I don’t have my damn book to find it!) that she had a long way to go but I had hope for her…because she was such a good friend and saw the power in those strong female friendships…that she would overcome those insecurities that I saw as the catalyst for her saying those things. My discussion does touch on what you said about it never being seen as wrong so I don’t want to get TOO in it because I am really excited to talk it out now especially after your insightful comment! So I def see how it could detract from what you loved about it…100%! I guess maybe that, even though it bothered me, I saw it in a different way? Even though I still agree with you? Haha does that make sense??

      Seriously, thank you for your comment! I love talking stuff out like this because it’s so important!

      • I can’t wait to read this post. Sorry for taking so long to respond. I have been swamped the last couple of days. Please let me know when you post it! And by the way, it totally makes sense. I certainly don’t expect people to react to the same things that I do in the same way. Differences are what make us all great. You are definitely more optimistic than I am about Reagan’s propensity for change, but again, I think it has a lot to do with our own experiences and outlook on life, ya know?

  3. I just requested this from my library! I seriously cannot wait to read it.

  4. I’m SO glad you loved this book, because I loved this book and I want everyone to love it and flail with me. Although there are some things that are considered problematic as mentioned above, that didn’t effect my rating because like you, I saw it in a different way. HEARTS IN MY EYES. Type of way.

  5. The friendship with a famous person intrigues me too. It reminds me of this last years Oscars where Jennifer Lawrence brought her best friend as her date. The friend wrote an article about it after, being the only normal person around a bunch of celebrities. It was awesome though because the friend basically said all these super famous women were really nice and not catty at all. I loved that. You so rarely hear about good supportive friendships between girls/women. I’m glad that was a focus in the book as well. Can’t wait to read and I’m glad it lives up to the hype!

  6. Just finished reading this one the other night and I LOVED it! It too has jumped right to the top of my list of fave romances…right up there with Stephanie Perkins and Gayle Forman! Everything about ORS was so perfect and I need more Matt and Reagan (AND Dee and Jimmy for that matter) in my life!

  7. ALL OF THIS! I hate the beach, but this book totally makes me want to drive out to the coast and pull up an umbrella! I haven’t even finished it yet (only 100 pages in), but I can already tell it’s going to join the ranks of Perkins and Matson for me as well. And where can I find a Matt Finch? Or buy one? Either way – he’s mine <3

  8. Honestly, I don’t know where I’ve been these past few days because I totally did notice this book popping up in my Feedly tons but I never really ACKNOWLEDGED it, if that makes any sense. So while everyone was squealing about it, I was just totally oblivious but when I saw your review for it today, I was like, that’s it, I have to find out what everyone is talking about it and yayyyyy I’m so happy I did because this book sounds really super fun! This one just sounds like a really cute contemporary and even though we’ve been getting winter weather in the MIDDLE OF APRIL, I am so in a summer mood so this book is perfect for my state of mind right now! Also, boys that are musicians –> that in itself has got me swooning over Matt Finch.

  9. I was up sooo late reading Open Road Summer. I’m working on the review right now, but I have to force myself not to just type “SWOON” and click publish.

  10. Ooh, because of all your fan girling I might have to check this out. I’m right now reading Attachments and I avoided it because of said fan girling from some of my friends. I’m really regretting it now since I’m SUPER DUPER enjoying it! I’m trying to put it down as much as possible so I can soak in all the good stuff in it… if that makes sense. Have you read it yet?

  11. I liked Reagan but for me this book was about Matt Finch. He stole the show…and my heart. I literally had butterflies. I can’t wait to go out and buy a physical copy too. ORS is already one of my favorite books of the year.

  12. Ahhh! This one has been on my radar since I’ve heard of it’s release! I’m actually going to make a trip to B&N sometime this week to pick it up because I want to read it so badly! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed it! 😀 It’s always great to see a good friendship in books without the jealousy and hate because in most books, eventually the friends end up fighting and backstabbing each other. Especially when one is a celeb! So it’s definitely a nice change to see! Great review!! 🙂

  13. I wasn’t going to read this but you’ve definitely made me want to now. I’ll be adding this to my list haha.

  14. I LOVED this book! I finished it in one day while simultaneously gushing all over the author on twitter. Team Matt Finch for life!!

  15. This book was perfection! It was extremely cliche but I love cliches and Matt Finch is the best book boyfriend ever!

  16. Ashley F. says:

    Your review and all of the comments made me order this book last night and I cannot wait to read it. Ever since reading Maybe One Day, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump… hopefully this is the book that snaps me out of it!

  17. Yes yes yesssss. Perfect fangirling!! I just LOVED this book so much. Everything that you said – characters, friendship, romance, SUMMER. It was all. Just. Perfect! And of course Matt Finch! Serious swooooons.

  18. You know whats awesome? Other than the fact that this is a beer drinking book? (Yeah, that is pretty awesome! Especially in the 90 degree heat here) I just picked both this book and Since You’ve Been Gone up from the library this very afternoon! My husband and I are heading to Colorado, to Red Rocks Amphitheater, next week. There will be beer drinking in CO, plus the 23 hour drive from my home state of SC, to read the heck out of both of these books! Thanks for your awesome talk! I absolutely do not want over-analytic book talks. Where is the fun in that? By the way, in case I have never mentioned this, the post-its are the mostist!


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