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Open Road Summer
Emery Lord
BIBLIO:2014, Walker Books, 12 to 18, $17.99.
REVIEWER:Kristi Bernard
FORMAT: Young Adult
ISBN: 9780802736109

Reagan O'Neill is a typical teenage girl with a best friend that she has had since the days they wore braces. Her best friend, Deliah Montgomery or Dee, is not a normal best friend. Dee is a famous country singer who is gearing up for a summer tour. Dee has invited Reagan to join her. These two friends are a great support network for each other. Dee has a crazy life since her hit song sent her and her career into a whirlwind of interviews, spot lights and events. Not only that, she just broke up with her boyfriend and needs to escape. The tabloids have made every effort to put her as a bad girl and her image is on the line. Reagan has had a troubled life and needs this opportunity to get a new start for herself. She was abandoned by her mother and left with a father who loved to drink. Left alone most of the time she found that she was raising herself. As a result she did some bad things and trusted no one except Dee.

Friendships can sometimes have a few bumps especially when it comes to boys. Upon the arrival of Matt Finch, the tours opening act and presented as the boy next door, is supposed to squash the bad rumors via the tabloids about Dee. Dee and Matt become close friends and allow the public to assume whatever about their relationship. Reagan finds him to be quite interesting and the feeling is mutual from Matt. For Reagan, this is a challenge since she has trust issues as a result of her past. She is finding that she could fall in love. Reagan thinks Matt is a genuinely good person and as a result of their friendship she wants to be a better person. Can she get past her past and give Matt a chance to tear down the walls?

Author Emery Lord has created a novel that young readers can sink their teeth into. Summer romances are fun. The characters are easy to relate to, loyal and seemingly very realistic in nature. The story isn't just about romance, it also taps into friendships and family. Lord does a great job of showing the parallel between the two female characters. The back drop of scenery and the life of a music star engages readers with all five senses. Readers, parents and teachers will approve.