Thursday 13 June 2013

Book Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland.

Product details:
Publisher: Disney Hyperion.
Release date:  May 7th 2013.
Hardcover, 304 pages.
Rating: 4½ out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

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.

For Cricket Thompson a summer in Nantucket is a summer full of possibility; a summer when dreams come true, a summer when she finally gets to kiss her longtime crush-slash-total obsession Jay Logan. So when her best friend Jules Clayton invites her along on the annual Clayton family vacation to the island, Cricket can’t believe her luck. It almost seems too good to be true - and it is.  Tragedy hits the Clayton family, and far from being embraced as one of their own as she has always thought herself to be, Cricket is left out in the cold and disinvited from the Nantucket vacation. Undeterred, and determined to be there for Jules no matter what, Cricket finds a job on the island. As for the summer of her dreams, well, those plans might have been derailed, but one thing’s for sure, Cricket is certainly in for a summer she’ll never forget.

Oh, Nantucket Blue, I just wanted more and more of you.  Leila Howland’s debut is as sun-dappled dreamy as its setting, and with a relatable protagonist, pitch-perfect voice, cracking dialogue and a swoony romance (you know how I love those!), this, for me, is one great summer read. In tone Nantucket Blue reminded me of Jenny Han’s Summer series; there is a sweet nostalgia to these books that makes me reminisce over my own teenage summers – angst-filled though they often were. Nantucket Blue also made me hungry for a sandwich from ‘Something Natural’ on Nantucket Island; I’ll have Sprouts, Veggies and Hummus on Whole Wheat, and a cookie too please. I love it when authors go the extra mile with their foodie descriptions; and this book gave me a snack-attack too many times to mention.

But, let’s get back to the story.

Nantucket Blue is all about character development and growth and coming-of-age. Ah, I can’t get enough of these coming of age stories.  There’s also a story-within-a-story here involving Cricket’s mom which provides some great comic relief at times. I swear, Cricket’s mom’s diary had me laughing out loud (and totally cringing for Cricket too). After all, who wants to hear about their mom getting it on. Repeatedly. With Lover Boy.  In the sand dunes. I feel for you Cricket, I do. And I liked Cricket right from the start; she reads very real, which I love, and though she’s a little meek at times, she is a girl with a good heart and all of the best intentions, so when her best friend Jules morphs into a mean girl, actually, scratch that, bitch-from-hell is a better term to describe Jules, Cricket understands. Personally, I wouldn’t understand, but then I’m not Cricket. And while I’m not going to delve too deep into the character of Jules in this review, let me just say that, yes, teenage girls (and anybody really) can and often do act like Jules acts when grief and never getting to say goodbye, is involved. Let’s just say that Cricket’s (although very well-intentioned) behaviour hit a nerve with Jules; and it hit that nerve with a hammer.

Not that I’m excusing Jules. I really did not like that girl.

After a false start in Nantucket where she’s fired from a job before she even starts, Cricket lands a job at the Cranberry Inn, where she works alongside Gavin, a bohemian kind of guy who makes great baked goods, and Liz, a sassy, quick-witted Brit who’s interested in having a good time. This book has a number of great secondary characters, and in particular I loved Liz, who was at times like a big sister to Cricket, albeit a big sister who buys Cricket a thong and tells her she needs to get laid. Liz also gives Cricket a lot of great advice, which ties into Cricket’s character growth during her summer on Nantucket, and her romance too. Cricket’s summer romance is unexpected and also a little bit forbidden. There’s also real chemistry between Cricket and her mystery man. Serious sizzle and kisses in the surf and champagne boat rides. I loved. Oh, and Jay, the boy of her dreams; is he Cricket’s mystery man? Hmmm…that would be telling.  You’ll have to read on and find out.

Of my summer reads this year, Nantucket Blue is my favourite so far. I’ve been recommending this one to everyone I know, and if you read it, I hope you love it too. I had such fun with Cricket on her adventures and I can’t wait to catch up again when Nantucket Red, the sequel to Nantucket Blue, releases summer 2014.


  1. i ADORE YOUR REVIEWS. I've heard mixed things about this one but you make me want it ;)

  2. I'm so glad to see such a positive review for NANTUCKET BLUE from you, Leanna! I've been hesitant to try it because you know how I feel about contemps, but I think you made a really strong case for this one. Plus, for a summer read? Heck yeah! I'm sold :)

  3. Jenny @ Supernatural Snark13 June 2013 at 15:49

    "Leila Howland’s debut is as
    sun-dappled dreamy as it’s setting, and with a relatable protagonist, pitch-perfect
    voice, cracking dialogue and a swoony romance (you know how I love those!), this,
    for me, is one great summer read."

    Annnnnnnd that means I need to read this book asap. I've read mostly really fantastic reviews for this book, and yours has just been the deciding one. I can't go another minute without experiencing this awesome summer read Leanna! Love how character-driven it is, those are always my favorite types of books:)

  4. Sounds like a perfect summer read Leanne. Great review, will make sure to pick this one up :-)

    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

  5. Looks like a PERFECT summer read to me! I think strong secondary characters are awesome in books, so I really want to read this one. Glad you liked it :)

    Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

  6. You had me sold when you mentioned the Summer series, that is one of my all time favourite series, so can't wait to read this too. Nantucket Blue sounds like it has everything going for it to make it a beautiful Summer read! Lovely review Leanna :)

  7. daisychainbooks15 June 2013 at 16:57

    This one definitely had a Summer series vibe for me. I'm so glad that there's another book to come too. I had thought this one was a standalone. :)

  8. I really enjoyed this one, too. I thought it was just going to be a fluffy, summer book and was surprised at the depth. I loved the secondary characters, especially her co-workers at the inn, and thought the romance was very sweet. Great review!
    New follower via Bloglovin.

  9. ChristinaBookAddict17 June 2013 at 21:53

    Ahhhhh! I am SOOO glad you loved this book too. It's my favorite YA contemporary of the summer. I really loved the setting and the romance. I can't wait for Nantucket Red--thanks for the heads up about that one. Great review, Leanna!

  10. daisychainbooks17 June 2013 at 22:49

    Me too - this one was a great surprise for me. Love it when that happens! Loved the secondary characters too - and the romance. And the food! ;) Thanks for following!

  11. daisychainbooks17 June 2013 at 22:49

    It's my fave YA contemp so far this summer too. We are so book twins! :)

  12. daisychainbooks23 June 2013 at 21:07

    I love strong secondary characters too. Always a bonus for me! :)

  13. daisychainbooks23 June 2013 at 21:07

    Mine too - and I loved the romance in this one! :)

  14. daisychainbooks23 June 2013 at 21:07

    Summer reads with beach settings are so my thing (so I've read a lot of them!) and this is the best one I've read in a while. :)

  15. daisychainbooks23 June 2013 at 21:07

    Thanks, Emma! I know - I've seen mixed reviews too, but I loved it! :)


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