May 7, 2013
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
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. (Taken from Goodreads.)
**This is an ARC review. Any excerpts or quotes included are subject to change before the final print.**
My Take On It
I love YA contemps and that's the main reason I wanted to read Leila Howard's debut, Nantucket Blue. Plus New England settings always fascinate me because that's an area of the country I have always wanted to visit. Especially vacation spots like Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
But I have to admit I was worried that this book might be a bit too fluffy. Not that fluff is bad. I can definitely do fluffy. As long as it's not TOO fluffy, you know? Well, Nantucket Blue surprised me, in a good way. It actually has quite a bit of depth written in and I enjoyed a great deal of the story.
Here is a look at my pro's and con's list:
Pro: the main character of Cricket. I liked Cricket's voice quite a bit. She is a good friend, she's generous, adventurous, and is not a quitter. In fact when she decided to travel to Nantucket by herself after her earlier plans fall through, there were plenty of instances when I would have given up and headed home to Rhode Island with my tail between my legs. But not Cricket. She sticks it out and doesn't give up when the going gets tough.
Con: Cricket is WAY too dependent on her best friend Jules and Jules' family. Cricket's own family has fallen apart since her parent's divorce and Jules family became a surrogate. But when things go wrong, Cricket has a tough time disengaging herself from that family. Moreover, when she and her best friend Jules have a falling out (I'm being kind here in my description) Cricket lets Jules run all over her and never really fights back. That kind of behavior frustrates the heck out me. Grow a backbone already.
In addition Cricket is a bit immature and too hung up on what others think of her. In fact she gets called out on that during the book.
Pro: Great secondary characters which is ALWAYS a big, fat PLUS in my book because I tend to fall in love with secondaries. My favorites in this story were Cricket's co workers, the quiet and soft spoken Gabriel and the brash and slightly raunchy Liz. I also really liked the writer that Cricket ends up interning for, George.
Pro: A story within a story. I really love when books use this device and it works well in this instance. Here the secondary story is about Cricket's mom when she was a teenage girl working in Nantucket for the summer. Cricket's current relationship with her mom is very strained but when she comes across her mother's old diary she begins to better understand her.
Pro: a sweet and unexpected romance is written in. I really liked the love interest. He was surprisingly normal and not affected by Cricket's drama. He was also more mature than she in many ways.
Cons: Though I liked the romance and the boy himself, in a way it did feel a little insta-love-y. And the relationship felt more physical than emotional in some ways (which is probably pretty realistic actually.)
Pro: Sex positive. Which I will always applaud in YA.
Pro: Authentic, funny dialogue. And also some really pretty writing:
I slipped his card into the back pocket of my shorts and walked outside where I made an absentminded, totally unhelpful loop around the yard, imagining my mother's firecracker self, captured and held hostage somewhere on Nantucket, waiting to be shot into the sky.
Pro: Cricket definitely undergoes character growth and development as the story progresses. She is a much different person when she leaves the island than the one she was when she got there. THAT is important.
Con: Other characters, Jules in particular, remain static.
Pro: A hopeful ending especially in regards to Cricket's relationship with her mom and Cricket's romance.
Con: VERY unresolved tensions between Cricket and some of the other characters. In fact the ending felt quite abrupt in that regard and choppy. It was not a strong finish which was disappointing. Especially since I have no idea if this is a standalone or the first in a planned series.
So as you can see, I have a lot of opinions about Nantucket Blue. I think overall I enjoyed it more than not, though it wasn't a perfect read. Still, I found the writing and story telling to be engaging and I will definitely be checking out more work by Leila Howard in the future.
Find author Leila Howland here: goodreads/ twitter/ facebook/ tumblr
Read more reviews of Nantucket Blue:
Chick Loves Lit
What I Read Yesterday