What I’m Reading Next: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Last year a student named Ari was in my Literature & Composition I Honors class. She is an avid reader, borrowed some of my books over the summer, and even though she isn’t in any of my classes this year she still stops in on a regular basis to borrow and/or discuss books. This morning before school began she brought back The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord (Lord’s second novel) and told me she loved it.

22429350Ari recently read and enjoyed When We Collided after I recommended it, which is why she wanted to read The Start of Me and You next. It didn’t take much prompting on my part to find out why she loved Lord’s sophomore release. She was smiling from ear to ear as she explained to me that she felt like she was the character. That even though she can’t relate with Paige’s grief, everything else about Paige was just like her. She found herself within the pages of this novel and she loved it. Ari told me all about how she spent the majority of her Memorial Day tearing through this story.

One of her favorite aspects of The Start of Me and You is that Paige didn’t need to rely on a love interest to help her find herself or solve her conflict(s). In fact, once we were done discussing the novel and how amazing it is to find ourselves within the pages of books, she asked me if I could recommend any books with similar characters/situations to Paige. I admitted that might be difficult for me since I haven’t read it yet, but I did my best and she chose a novel by Sarah Ockler.

So with that much enthusiasm and joy, how could I not instantly start reading The Start of Me and You? I’ve read both of Emery Lord’s other books and loved them. But it’s more than that. I love how Donalyn Miller says that students will read the books we (teachers) bless, but it ends up being even more powerful when we (teachers) read the books that students bless. And that’s why tonight I’m diving into a novel that Ari blessed.

Which books have you read and loved that students recommended? I’d love to read about it!

 

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open Road SummerTitle: Open Road Summer

Author: Emery Lord

Publisher: Walker Childrens

Release Date: April 15th, 2014

Interest: Contemporary / Debut Author

Source: Finished copy received from the author

Summary (From Goodreads):

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.

I originally received a copy of Open Road Summer when I was at NCTE in Boston. I added it to my classroom library before I read it because I knew my girls in class would probably love it, so I figured I’d read it over the summer. Sadly my ARC went missing during the school year and I never found it. After tweeting about this, Emery Lord saw my tweet and offered to be a “book fairy” and replace my missing copy. I’m thankful she did for multiple reasons, one of them being because it gave me the opportunity to read a truly enjoyable book!

I have absolutely nothing against reading edgy YA, but sometimes it’s nice to read something light and sweet. Open Road Summer isn’t without its true to life conflicts, but it’s not a book that kept me on edge. Lord has written a book that I’ll feel very comfortable offering to both my incoming freshmen *and* my seniors; it will easily appeal to both grade levels. It’s not uncommon to start a school year with “young” freshmen who may not be ready for a heavy romance filled with conflict. Open Road Summer will work well for those students who want to read about love and summer and friendship. My seniors are a different story. They also like to read about love and summer and friendship, but they generally have more life experience and will appreciate Reagan’s history. (Please keep in mind that these are generalizations and don’t apply to all freshmen or all seniors.)

Speaking of Reagan, I’m glad Emery Lord chose to write this from her point of view. I love how protective and loyal she is to Dee (only people who know Lilah really well call her that) and how much she’s trying to move on from her past. Another thing I enjoyed about her character is that she reminded me of some of my friends, but I could also see myself in her. She’s a well-rounded character. On the outside Reagan is fierce and protective of those she loves, but underneath it all she’s vulnerable and hesitant to let anyone in. She makes mistakes and learns from them. I would, for the record, absolutely love to read stories from Dee’s and Matt’s points of view because they are both genuine and fun characters with interesting lives.

Once I finished reading this and gave it my rating on Goodreads, one of my followers on the site asked me if it’s really worth reading and how the music scene was portrayed. First of all, I absolutely think it’s worth reading. Emery Lord is an author that I’ll be keeping an eye on so I can read more of her books. I thought the question about the music scene was an interesting one because I honestly hadn’t considered it. Dee works hard to maintain a wholesome image because that’s who she really is and she wants to be a positive role model. She faces unfortunate drama and rumors because of the paparazzi, but other than that the drama she deals with mostly has to do with her personal relationships. It’s another reason why I think my more innocent readers will appreciate Emery Lord’s debut.

%d bloggers like this: