August 15, 2013

Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Title: Nantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Release Date: May 7th, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Page Count: 294
Source: Purchased
Rating: Friend break-ups suck but this book is WONDERFUL.
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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Cricket and Jules are BFF. They're the kind of BFF who are so close that when Jules's family goes to Nantucket for the summer, they invite Cricket along. For the whole summer. But then Jules's mom dies and everything gets really, really bad, really quickly. Jules shuts Cricket out of her life, even going so far as to disinvite Cricket for the summer. Under the pretense that Jules's dad was the one to say Cricket couldn't come to Nantucket, Cricket finds a way to pave her way to this fancy island she has no where near enough money to vacation on. And then, obviously, she finds out Jules has de-friended her. After that, things get a little dicey. Especially once Jules's younger brother, Zack, and Cricket begin cozying up to one another...

Let's break this down:

Before I get started on the meat and potatoes of this review, I'd like note that I do have personal feelings about this book. I'm not going to get into the details because, well, the details attached to these personal feelings are a little TOO personal. But, just for the record, I get this book. I get Cricket, I get Jules, I get both of them together and it's agonizing and terrible and there's no right way to go about any of this. Even if you think it's the right way, like Cricket did, you might be wrong because you can't know how anyone's going to respond to grief. Even if you know a person backwards and forwards, you can never know. Just like Cricket didn't.

Basically: This book hit really close to home and I found it to be totally accurate to the experience of a good friend losing a parent and then you, as the friend, having to deal with it.

And that's about as personal as this is going to get. Now onto to other stuff.

I think the best thing about this book - aside from my insane ability to relate - are the relationships. All of the characters are so stuck in each others lives in the best and worst way possible that not one of them can really make a move without affecting someone else. Cricket and Jules fight with affects Cricket's relationship with Zack, both of which affect Cricket's individual relationships with her parents. And then there's also the way Cricket interacts with the people she works with - a job Cricket only ended up getting in response to needing to be in Nantucket with Jules.

It's all kind of a great big mess that I love so very much.

Although, I sometimes feel like this is the little book that bit off more than it could chew. Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love every single subplot here, but having two different sets of parental issues, two different jobs, a best friend problem AND a boyfriend? I know it's beyond realistic that have to deal with all of these things at once, but not in 294 pages. I feel like I'd need at least another 50 pages or something to deal with all of that.

But, like, maybe I shouldn't try to convert life problems and time to pages in a novel. That seems really subjective and considering how much I loved this book even though I felt like the plot was all kind of crammed in there, I probably can't complain TOO much.

I also think it's worth noting that the whole Cricket-Jules-Zack dynamic was written flawlessly. Like, you knew what was happening was wrong but it was just so right you wanted it to happen anyways, Jules be damned. And I like how a million assumptions were made between the three. I've not only seen that happen, I've been right in the middle of it and it's just as disastrous as the book makes it seem.

Basically, there's a lot of disastrous-ness in this book that I can relate to. It sucks and it's sad, but Leila Howland portrayed the reality of it all flawlessly. And somehow managed to keep this book a great summer read. I mean, if you cry easy, MAYBE you don't want to read the beginning or ending on the beach, but the middle part is safe, I promise.

The long and short of it?

Plot: There's A LOT going on there, but it's all dealt with pretty realistically.
World Building: Have a been to Nantucket? No. But that's exactly what I always thought it would look like.
Character Development: Every single character in this book is a hot mess. Which is pretty accurate to true life, if you ask me.
Prose: I like when books are written in first person because I really get a feel for the character. I especially like it when the first person POV of said character is written really, really well. Like in this book.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Love contemporary? How about books set on the beach? You into stories about best friends who've hit a bump in the road? Vaguely forbidden romances? If you said yes to any of these questions, even if it was only the first one, you should probably read this book.

By the last 100 pages of this book I just wanted to scoop Cricket up and hide her away. [Which is a pretty strong feeling to have towards a fictional character.] Have you read this one? Did you feel the same way? Sound off in the comments below!


  1. I thought this book was sooo good! And I do think that the Cricket-Jules thing was done PERFECTLY. I wish this book could've gone on and on ... love summer reads. :)

  2. I really liked this one and being as I don't normally pick up contemps first this was a big deal for me. I agree about Nantucket too. I've never been there but the book described it exactly how I see it in my head as well. ~Kristina

  3. Great review! I know what you mean... there was a ton going on and we prob could have done without the mom mystery or maybe even the whole love triangle kind of thing, but still... Leila does get the relationships right.

    I can't wait to see what happens in the next book.

  4. Pssssst. You forgot the rating. I still need to read this book before Cassie kills me, but I'm VERY excited. It sounds really good, even though I don't like it when there's too much going on. What usually happens is that things just start to feel cluttered to me, so we'll see how I think about this one. Also, I love relating to books, but not when it comes to sad things in books. Or maybe that's even better. I haven't figured that out yet.

  5. I really liked this book! I do agree that there was definitely a bunch of different things happening in this book, which made it slightly cluttered. But I enjoyed it, and at the end of the day, I think that's all I really care about! Plus, it's so rare to see friendship breakups being explored in books so that was pretty fun to read about.

  6. I. Loved. This. Book. OMG so many more feels than I anticipated! I really loved Cricket an Zach was so amazing! I loved him!! I wanted to just snug her too and take her away from all the negative energy.


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