Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland (Book Review)

July 16, 2013 Book Review, Young Adult 7 ★★★

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland (Book Review)Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Published by Disney Hyperion on May 7, 2013
Pages: 294
Format: Audiobook
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
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3 Stars
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.

I’m not typically a fun of summer romances with a little meat on their bones. Typically, I go for the light and fluffy summer romances on the beach. I was a little scared going into Nantucket Blue for this reason, but I ended up enjoying it, even though it fell a bit short. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. My absolute favorite part of Nantucket Blue was the setting. I love the descriptions of quaint, little Nantucket. This is the kind of small town environment I love–where everyone knows each other, nobody locks their doors, and there are more bikes than cars driving down the stone streets. Secluded beaches are abundant, and the perfect place to fall in love. This book made me want to visit Nantucket, and I hope to find more books that take place there!

2. Cricket. This is the summer she’s going to find herself, and after losing her second mom suddenly, the companionship of her best friend, and the admiration of a boy she was crushing on, she’s definitely in need of a summer of soul searching. After the invitation to spend the summer with Jules on Nantucket is retracted, Cricket finds a job that brings her to Nantucket anyway. After a twist or two, she ends up taking a job at the local Cranberry Inn (I love this place) as a chambermaid, and becomes an intern for a journalist. She cleans rooms, tries not to fall in love with her ex-best friend’s younger brother, assists the injured journalist, jumps out of her comfort zone, and makes a few new friends. I’m not sure how I feel about Cricket. She’s kind of a pushover, and I was hoping to see some major growth throughout the book, which I didn’t really get.

3. I have a really hard time seeing people push away all the good in their life in the face of tragedy. I’ve seen it happen with numerous friends and acquaintances in my life, and it makes me sad. Why not grab hold of the things you love as you grieve the things you’ve lost? That’s why I had a hard time with Jules. She changed into an unrecognizable person, and got so snotty and rude. I felt awful for her when she lost her mom, but this transformation made me not like her very much. She just did not seem to be a very good friend, and I was frustrated with Cricket for fighting so much to keep her in her life.

4. This book is just not happy. There were a few sunshiney moments, which were nice, but there was the constant sadness weighing on me. It felt like everyone was hiding behind a facade, and it made emotions and thoughts feel less genuine. Characters are at least supposed to open up to the readers.

5. I LOVED the supporting characters at the Cranberry Inn: Liz, Gavin, and George. They made this entire book for me, and are the reason I kept reading. Liz is a quirky Irish girl, who wants so badly to bring Cricket out of her shell. She’s so funny! Gavin is like a concerned dad type, and George is the journalist who was the funniest, most genuine character of them all. They became a supportive family to Cricket, and they all meshed so well together.

6. I’m iffy on the romance. It seemed kinda insta-lovey, with no real build-up. I liked the guy ok, but there was an age difference that rubbed me the wrong way. He’s 16 and she’s 18… and I just wasn’t feeling it.

7. Leila’s writing drew me in and kept me there. I loved her descriptions and her writing style.

Overall, this was kind of a “meh” read for me. I loved the setting and the secondary characters, and everyone else was jut ok. I feel like the ending was rather lackluster, but Leila Howard’s writing throughout the rest of the book kept me going. I never considered not finishing the book, but I was not entirely invested in the story. Still, though, I am now in LOVE with Nantucket. I want to go find the Cranberry Inn and hug everyone there!

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7 Responses to “Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland (Book Review)”

  1. Emma M.

    I think what I loved most about this book is Cricket’s narration! I agree that her actions or lack thereof were at times incredibly frustrating but some of her narration was just funny and so spot on to how I was as a teen. I don’t think she had a ton of growth, but it does only cover the time-span of a few weeks so that didn’t bother me all that much.

    What most bothered me was the character of Jules and how Cricket handled that entire situation. I understand that Jules is going through a hard time but she has no right to treat anyone the way she treats Cricket. I would have had a few choice words for that girl!

    Leila confirmed that she is actually writing a followup to this novel due out next summer! I’m pretty excited to see how the relationship goes because that is such an age difference and Cricket is really at a different phase in her life.

  2. Kapri (Book Fanatics)

    I actually ended up enjoying this book, although it wasn’t my favorite. I do agree with you about Jules, though. Even with everything that happened, she shouldn’t have acted like she did and I just couldn’t like her that much.

  3. Renae M.

    I really enjoyed the setting as well—I think Howland really managed to take readers to a different place. Like you, I thought this was by far the best part of the book. Cricket’s character wasn’t my favorite so much, but I did like her mostly throughout the book. And in the end, I really thought this was a fun book for summertime, though not an all-time favorite.

  4. Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader

    I currently have Nantucket Blue sitting unread on my Kindle so I was very interested in hearing what you had to say about it!

    I really love stories set in small towns, likely because I’ve never lived in one myself, so the setting is a definite draw for me as well. I’ve heard wonderful things about Howland’s ability to really bring Nantucket to life, so for that reason alone I’m looking forward to reading this story :D

    It’s a shame that Cricket lacked any significant amount of growth as character development is pivotal when it comes to my ability to enjoy a story. I don’t mind if a character starts off as unlikeable or ‘weak’ as long as we’re shown some sort of definitive progress along the way. If they’re stagnant and unwilling to grow from their experiences, what’s the point in reading their story? It seems a little pointless.

    I must admit I’m a little disappointed to hear that this book is significantly more serious and ‘heavy’ than I initially expected. Like you, I tend to gravitate toward lighter stories and romances during the summer, and this one sounds a little too dark for this time of year. I might wait until September or so to pick this one up given your impressions.

    Wonderful review, as always, Jana! :D

  5. Bookworm1858

    Jules was such a difficult character-I really wanted her to embrace her good friend dying to help her but instead she just pushed her away. I think I read that there will be a sequel so maybe they can repair their relationship in that one, if that is true.

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