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 is by far my favourite contemporary read of 2016. I’m astounded by Emery Lord’s capability to hit all the right notes, and it leaves you wanting the book to never end, wanting there to be more after you’ve finished reading. I was in love from page one; it made my heart race, made me laugh, cry and feel all the joys and sorrows the characters experiences as I was reading. It was everything I ever wanted from a book and perhaps even more.
I love these kinds of contemporary romance that involve travelling, celebrities and music to begin with, and for me at least, the appeal was right there from the moment I read the blurb. There was not a single moment where the book was too slow or too fast – I think it was paced really well. The writing was also something that was amazing. It was the way the book was written, the way the plot was executed and also the character development which really made the book stand out from the rest.
Reagan joins her best friend, Lilah Montgomery (aka Dee) on her summer tour in order to leave her rebellious ways behind in favour of a fresh start. I really liked Reagan because she’s loud, unafraid to voice her honest opinions, and she’s also very headstrong, qualities that I deeply admire. Despite her not-so-clean track record, she is surprisingly hardworking when she wants to be, even if she has anger management issues. She’s aspiring to pursue a career in photojournalism – hence all the photographic metaphors that she uses throughout the book.
As I stare back down at my photographs, my thoughts linger on a camera function called aperture, used to describe how much light is being let into the lens. It seems easy to think of myself this way – as someone who programmed herself to let in the least amount of light possible.
Reagan is a very well-rounded character – she has her flaws which are balanced out by her strengths. She’s constantly struggling between her past and her future, her indecisiveness between what’s the right and wrong thing to do, and also between the pursuit of things she should and shouldn’t have. She has to learn to trust again, to slowly break down the walls she’s built and let people into her life again. This internal conflict is what makes her so real and easy to relate to.
Her relationship with Dee is unwavering. Dee is almost the antithesis of Reagan – she’s extremely kind and patient, and always sees and brings out the best in people. She has a way with words – she is a singer-songwriter after all. Despite being one of the nicest people ever, she still has her sassy and sarcastic moments. Although she’s living the dream, there’s still this constant struggle between living in a dream and living in a glided cage that is rising fame and popularity, which makes Dee’s character even more authentic. I really love how Dee and Reagan’s relationship develop as something very precious; it’s a one-of-a-kind friendship that can be more meaningful than a romantic relationship.
“I guess I do know this: find a best friend, and hang on tight.”
The two of them are pretty grounded and are rock solid – they always have each others’ backs. There’s just some thing so special and precious about thte bond between the two of them that the author is able to create, and it’s definitely one of the things that struck a chord with me when I was reading.
Dee isn’t the only famous musician in this story – there’s also Matt Finch who joins the girls on the tour partway through. He’s a good friend of Dee’s, however Reagan is sceptical of him at first. As they get to know each others, it grows into something so much more that’s really beautiful to read. Matt as a person is also pretty cool – he’s quirky, he always counter Reagan’s quips just as sassily, and he’s also just a genuinely caring friend. He’s very grounded despite the successes in his career and the fame, and I really like that most of the characters who are famous are very human – there is not a single character who is stuck-up in any way, which is honestly a relief.
Although Dee and Matt are both songwriters and performers, I wasn’t actually expecting there to be song lyrics that the characters had written in the book. Having the lyrics to their songs made the story more authentic . Unlike many stories and fanfictions I’ve read in the past, it actually contributes to the plot, instead of being there for the sake of having song lyrics.
One thing I did notice while reading this book, especially at the start was the similarities between this story and Taylor Swift back in her earlier years (back in the fearless/Speak Now eras). Things like singer-songwriter, Nashville, blonde hair, and America’s sweetheart could be inferred in the book. Maybe it was inspired by that or I could be completely wrong in my speculation but that’s just my opinion.
Overall, this is a very compelling, heart-warming story that really gets to you. Even now, having finished reading the book, I long for more – I want to know more about what’s next for all the characters. I don’t think any words I’ve written are a justification to Emery Lord’s prose. It’s definitely a book you have to read and see for yourself the beauty of the world she has created.