Country singers make up a good portion of the music industry, with superstars like Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley having been around for over 10 years. Others, like Taylor Swift, started when they were young. American author Emery Lord’s novel Open Road Summer tells the story of a teenage country singer’s summer tour, but in a different kind of way.

Seventeen-year-olds Reagan O’Neill and Delilah Montgomery have been best friends since Reagan moved to Nashville from Chicago several years ago. To millions of people, Delilah is know as Lilah Montgomery, superstar country singer and songwriter. To Reagan though, she’s just Dee, a normal teenage girl trying to navigate her life and fame.

The two of them are traveling cross country on Dee’s summer tour. For Reagan, it’s the chance to distance herself from her old ways of drinking and partying that landed her into legal troubles. But when an unexpected photo leak puts Dee’s reputation in jeopardy, the publicity team invites former singer Matt Finch onto the tour as an opening act. While Reagan was hoping to spend the summer with Dee, she finds herself drawn to Matt’s nonjudgmentalism and perspective of family.

I liked Reagan’s character the most. She is a resilient, no-nonsense girl who knows what she wants and is determined to protect herself from the negative influences of her past and anything that could hurt her in the future. Dee, in contrast, complements Reagan with her calm and friendly demeanor.

Lord wrote about the side of fame that not all people think about: the limits. Dee constantly expresses her desire to be able to do normal activities without being followed around, but accepts that it comes with living her dream. It sheds a light on what the affect of fame can have on someone, especially when the person is only a teenager and has their whole life ahead of them.

The aspect of friendship also serves as an important part of the plot. It makes you think about all these famous celebrities- we know their name, their face and what they’ve done, but what are they truly like? Who are their childhood friends that knew them before they made it big? There’s a whole story behind the famous faces that we see everyday. Emery Lord does a good job at telling that kind of story.

Advertisements