Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Pages: 304
Genre: Teen Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: 07/05/2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Review copy issued to me through Netgalley

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.
(Blurb from Goodreads)


I requested this book looking for a quick contemporary read. I don't know that I was expecting a light and fluffy read, but I was still surprised at how "deep" this novel was. Miss Howland tackles a few teen issues worth mentioning and made me laugh while she was at it.

The cover suggests that the book is one of those fluffy teen romances where the main character drools about some cool guy and eventually ends up with him. The blurb suggests something deeper than this and while the novel does start out a bit that way, Cricket (the main character) is quickly brought down to earth -almost plummeting from the clouds- And, the novel starts to take another turn. Tragedy strikes and now her perfect summer plans were ruined. It was interesting to see how she tried to turn things around and still enjoy her summer. I really liked Cricket for this, she was a positive person and as terrible as things were, she was going to enjoy her summer like anyone else.

It seems though, that no matter how much good luck Cricket encounters, that there is plenty of bad luck too. And, so this does become a bit of an "angsty teen novel" where the main character encounters an awful lot of dramas and find herself in an awkward place. Cricket is going to be turning eighteen soon and she feels like all of a sudden she's growing up. It's a novel about finding your place in the world, getting older, fixing your problems and making the most of life. And, what a time to set it - In the summer!

One thing I really liked about the novel was that Cricket's Emily Dickens book was supposed to be part of her literary summer reading quest and turned out to be a secret diary from her mother's own teenage summer adventure (Hope I'm not spoiling too much for anyone). Talk about an education! I have to agree with Cricket there are just some things that a girl does not want to know about her mother, however, I can tell that she was still glad that she found that diary.

I also liked that many of the problems were unconventional ones. I don't want to spoil too much here, though (so I can't specify too much). I liked that Cricket found herself in these weird situations where she thought "Am I entitled to this feeling?" or "Should I be here?". I think there are many readers out there that will agree with me on this. We all seem to like characters that we see something of ourselves in or at least someone we aspire to be and it's good to know that the character is also unable to distinguish the line (the one you aren't supposed to cross) at times.

Overall, 4 out of 5 stars. I liked  the story and could not put it down, but I was a little bothered that Cricket gave up on a rule that she made for herself because she realised she was turning eighteen. I also thought that some of the things she and Jules talked about or made rules about in the beginning were pointless or silly and even though Cricket did change it seemed that she still took some of those rules too seriously. I'd recommend this to fans of Melina Marchetta, Morgan Matson or Ann Brashares.
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