Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue coverNantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Series: it seems like a sequel (Nantucket Red) is coming out next summer!

Goodreads description:For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on–most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits–that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

Confession: I have never been to an actual beach. I live in Oklahoma, the very middle of the country, and I have never seen the ocean. I have seen lakes and I love them, but they are not the same. I have always wanted to see the ocean and spend time on the beach but for some reason, it hasn’t happened yet. Sometimes beach reads are fun to read (like this one!) and sometimes they just taunt me (okay, still this one).

Cricket plays lacrosse at an all-girl school in Rhode Island. She is ready for summer and the chance to spend time with her crush Jay before he leaves for a summer in Nantucket. She spends most of her time with her best friend Jules and her family. She loves Jules’s family, especially her mother Nina. Her own parents are divorced; her father has a new family and her mother has become a bit withdrawn. With Jules’s family, she finds a connection she desires and a place to belong. When they invite her to spend the summer on Nantucket with them, it seems like a dream come true.

All that changes when a member of Jules’s family unexpectedly dies and Jules begins to drift away. She cancels their summer plans to go to Nantucket together. Cricket believes Jules just needs time and will realize that she really needs her best friend. In a show of desperate independence, she decides to go to Nantucket anyway to be there for Jules and be around Jay. Unfortunately, neither Jules nor Jay are happy to see her when she arrives.

Cricket expects a summer of flirting, friendship, and the beach. Instead, she deals with the death of someone important and the loss of a friendship. She finds a job as a chambermaid in a hotel. She also helps an author write a biography on a recently dead senator. She words hard, makes new friends, and spends more time alone. She has a diary (written in a book of Emily Dickinson poems) her mom wrote when she was young and on Nantucket. In her solitude, she learns a lot about herself and her mother. Somewhat surprisingly, she starts spending time with Jules’s little brother, Zack, and sparks fly.

I have to admit that I wasn’t really sure what to think of Cricket in the beginning. A lot of things she did/said about her crush and others were annoying and catty, but seemed sadly realistic for high school girls. Cricket is very earnest, which isn’t really a bad thing, but when mixed with a natural naivete it can be a bit much. However, it’s easy to remember how young she is and how much she has to learn. She makes mistakes but she takes responsibility for them. She stands up for herself even when she knew she had made a mistake, which I think is really important. Just because you make a mistake doesn’t give someone the right to treat you badly. It was also interesting to see her family versus what she wanted in a family. Her relationship with both parents was frustrating, but it was great to see her reach out to her mother.

Jules is consumed by grief and it makes her angry. It’s natural to be angry when you’ve lost someone, and it’s understandable to lash out. There’s definitely some leeway there, but she takes advantage of it. Jules doesn’t care about anything, she doesn’t care about destroying a friendship or changing. It’s difficult to continue feeling sympathy for her when she’s so combative and hateful.

I liked the romance and I really liked Zack. I actually have some weird thing about the guy being younger (I know, it makes no sense) but I thought they were cute and they worked. I tend to like best friend’s brother/sibling stories, and I never really get why a friend wouldn’t want you dating someone in their family. I thought the romance was sweet and imperfect. It was “forbidden” but they both actually cared about each other. It made me smile like an idiot and Zack is probably my favorite character.

I liked Cricket’s road to knowledge, as sad and lonely as it was at some points. Cricket discovers a lot about who she is and what she wants from life. She finds out how she wants to be treated and how she wants to treat others.

I enjoyed Nantucket Blue and it made me want to visit Nantucket in a serious way! The setting was fun, and it felt very homey. The story wasn’t as light as I expected, but I do see myself reading it again! I thought it kind of ended in a weird place, so I’m very excited about Nantucket Red!

4 star rating

Check out Leila Howland’s website and twitter!

4 thoughts on “Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

  1. Pingback: FAREWELL MAY [recap] | a blighted one
  2. Pingback: Nantucket Red by Leila Howland [quick thoughts] | A Blighted One

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