Since I read two music books recently, I thought I might nestle them together for a double review!
Now you know I love music books (heY I WROTE ONE called A Thousand Perfect Notes) so I’m always on the look out for more. Although I confess I prefer classical music by, um, like a lot. And these two are more about boybands and famous country singers and involve a lot more fandoms, crowds, and general cheery screaming.
I also listen to music while I plot (but not while I write) so before we dive in, here’s what I’ve been listening to lately:
Eclectic combinations? Me? Ah hahahha HAHA yes.
Anyway, onto the reviews! And I will demand you share your recent playlists with me in the comments.
OPEN ROAD SUMMER BY EMERY LORD
Thank you to Bloomsbury for the review-copy!
published June 2018
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.
This story is equal parts bitter and sweet, and I adored that contrast!
It also has some super great friendships and romance that was full of bickery-loving-snark, so hold onto my ice tea, mate, I very much enjoyed that. Although if we’re going to be honest, I don’t really understand ice tea or the USA south or country music at all. Which was a little problem for me reading a book that is centered around…um, country music. But anyway.
It’s basically a roadtrip story (sURPRISE the title says so) about a girl and her best friend, who’s also a famous musician. Reagan is like a bitter espresso. She is an actual disaster in high heels, all snark and cutting edges. She makes bad decisions. She’s been arrested. She had a Very Bad Boyfriend who she’s just ditched and is trying to move past. And I still really liked her! She wasn’t ashamed of dressing sexy or being confident with her looks. She had SO MUCH GREAT BANTER and so SO much love for her best friend, Dee. She is the actual person who will bITE you if you hurt her friends. She also did have a really great character arc! Which is a relief because there was a lot of very unnecessary girl-on-girl hate and slut-shaming from Reagan. Grrr.
The tour + the country music aspect WERE big parts of the book, but I still enjoyed it regardless of not really liking, um, country music. But I did feel it was a “oops this isn’t for me” when Dee is all out there being wholesome and modest/good to her crying tween audience and singing about broken guitars and sheds or whatever country music is about.
☆ you can’t help but root for Reagan and Matt!! their chemistry is AMAZING
☆ Reagan could devour you which is amazing
☆ her best friend, Dee, is absolutely adorable and I love how their friendship never failed them!
☆ funny moments as well as heart-eyes moments!
Woo I actually bought this one myself!
published May 2018
For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare.
Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.
I seriously love Alice Oseman’s style of writing! I adore how her books are so focused deep, consuming, complex love that isn’t necessarily romantic. This one didn’t quite live up to Radio Silence for me (like that is a FAV) because I’ve never ever been obsessed with a boyband or actually a really intense fan. Of, um, anything. Like I literally have no desire to even go meet my favourite authors looool SORRY. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ANYWAY. I still enjoyed how it discussed fandom culture, how it can be awful but also can be full of healing and friendship. Hey fandoms DO bring people together (I met all my closest friends through book blogging!) and that’s the bessst.
Jimmy and Angel dual-narrate. Jimmy’s chapters (he’s in this famous boyband) were my favourite, he is basically anxiety on legs and I really felt for him through all the pressure on tour and his breakdown. Angel (she’s a huge fan) was SO tall and talkative and ends up being everybody’s designated bodyguard because they can hide behind her. Get you a tol friend, ok. They come in handy for shade, bodyguards, and seeing through crowds. (However I just DON’T understand being so involved in some celebrities’ life that you freak out/lose hope of life/etc just by what they do??? Wow.)
☆ epic female friendships
☆ actual beautiful and respectful diversity rep (Jimmy is POC, gay and trans; Angel is POC and Muslim and possibly queer-questioning) and how diversity WAS a huge part of their identity, but the book wasn’t also solely about it…if that makes sense. I loved it so so much.
☆ BEAUTIFUL WRITING
☆ secondary characters you totally fall in love with (Rowan is the MUM FRIEND and Lister is the golden retriever excitable puppy)
☆ it totally unpacks anxiety disorders and I really really loved the rep of that
☆ the ending had me sO STRESSED I can’t even.
☆ so raw and sweet as well as a bit dark…just the kind of contemporary I like