Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

book coverFormat: E-ARC
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: May 7, 2013
ISBN: 9781423160519
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: standalone
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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.

Take Nantucket Blue to with you when you go on your vacation--it is the perfect summer beach read!

I put off reading this novel because I wasn't a fan of the cover and the main character's name--I really thought I wasn't going to enjoy it. How very wrong I was! Once I started reading, I quickly devoured this novel and I was really sad to see Cricket (her name eventually grew on me) go after I finished reading it.

Nantucket Blue follows Cricket Thompson and her summer in Nantucket. We learn that Cricket's dad had remarried and her mom was still really down as a result of the divorce. Cricket was hanging out a lot at her best friend Jules Clayton's house to get away from her parents. She grew especially close to Jules's mom, the vivacious Nina. When she was invited to spend the summer with the Claytons in Nantucket, Cricket was ecstatic, largely because her long-time crush Jay Logan will be vacationing there too. But when Nina died suddenly of an aneurysm, everything changed. Jules became cold and distant and retracted Cricket's invite to spend the summer with her family.

Still determined to be close to her best friend and to be there for her while Jules was going through a tough time, Cricket took a job as a maid at an inn in Nantucket. Though Jules continue to be distant, Cricket formed new friendships with her co-workers and even became a sort of intern for a writer staying at the inn. She also soon found herself falling for a guy (not Jay Logan) she shouldn't be falling for. But will she work things out with Jules? Or, will her new relationship drive an even bigger wedge between them?

I really liked Cricket's character. She's the type of character I want to be friends with. She never gave up on Jules no matter how much she pushed her away. She made mistakes but she learned from them and because a better person. I enjoyed watching her grow up throughout the novel, from an insecure girl to someone with more self-confidence and self-assurance. I also really liked how she got closer to her mom and helped her come out of the melancholy she was in.

Nantucket Blue wouldn't be a perfect summer beach read without a romance and it did not disappoint in that department. Cricket's romance with her "secret lover" was really sweet and very swoony. It will definitely satisfy all the romantics out there.

The themes of friendship, family, growing up, teen sexuality, love, loss and healing was perfectly blended in this novel. The ending has what I like to call as "satisfyingly openended." Not everything was tied up nice and neat but, in this instance, I didn't mind the few loose ends that left us readers to imagine what will happen next. In my opinion, it's actually better this way. 

There was a lot to like in this novel and found nothing I disliked. The writing was well-done and the pacing was consistent throughout. I thought Howland's voice was terrific and I definitely want to read more by her. I highly recommend you read Nantucket Blue this summer (preferably at the beach with a nice, cool drink and the wind blowing through your hair)--trust me, you won't be disappointed.

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