Thursday, May 23, 2013

Reivew: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Release date: May 7th, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Rating: A little sad, a little moving, very swoony, and I am conflicted.

 Nantucket Blue

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.

The cover: Toally summery and beautiful. While this book doesn't focus on the romance as much as this cover claims-- it's mostly Cricket's relationships with friends and family-- I was powerless just resist such a beachy and enticing cover.

The story: I wanted to love this story a lot more than I did. And while I certainly liked it, I've got a few bones to pick before I get to gushing. Cricket, our heroine, was sometimes awesome and sometimes awful. She starts out the book rather childish and superficial, which she's meant to. It wasn't really that that I took isue with. But every now and then, Cricket would say something that would make me hate her, usually something judgmental about someone else's looks or body type.
Then she'd say something that would make me love her, so basically I don't know what to feel.

I'm not exactly sure why Howland left in some of Cricket's thoughts. They're things she thinks to herself and they made me want to thwap her over the head with something heavy. I also think they don't make any sense for Cricket's character. She's a kind girl, a great friend, and yes, she's a little too obsessed with appearances and having people like her, but not to that somewhat cruel degree. Which leads me to assume that Howland didn't see that these quotes could rub people the wrong way, like they did me. Honestly, if they don't bug you, that's perfectly all right. I know a lot of people who straight up loved Cricket, and there is a lot to love. But I have a few reservations on her. I did love watching her mature, though.

Also CRICKET. The final complication of her romance drove me nuts. I can't really talk about it without spoiling it, but CRICKET. SERIOUSLY. Also, she was really slow to get Jules' one hundred million hints, and obviously Jay was never worth a single second of her time.

Now. The romance. YES. Oh my giddy aunt, is this book swoon-tastic. Zack and Cricket are just magnificent. There's a bit of an age difference (he's an older sophomore, she's a rising senior), which, to be honest, is hard for me to wrap my head around. But my God are they adorable. There's a certain Fourth of July scene which just had me sighing and squealing and hugging my pillow. The romance is by far the best part of this book. It's so sweet, and real, and full of chemistry. There should have been more of it. Boats + kissing + fireworks = romantic success

The other aspect that's very well done is Nantucket. I've never been, but by reading this book I feel like I have. I got a really good sense of the place. There was summer in every inch of this book. It's the perfect thing to read as the weather turns. And goodness, every now and then I'd come across a turn of phrase that left me speechless. There is some mega good writing in here. So good it almost hurts, except a few too many "he said's".

I've got mixed feelings about Cricket's relationship with her best friend, Jules. Now, Jules' mother just DIED, so obviously Jules gets all kinds of slack about everything. And even though Cricket was practically a member of Jules' family, and loved Jules' mom almost like her own, she still wasn't. So, I get that Jules needed space or whatever. But... I don't know. Most of it was poignant and heartbreaking and made me want to sob for days on end, because we've all experienced that soul-crushing thing where you can feel the distance growing between you and your best/close friend, but a lot of it just angered me. Jules is really cruel to Cricket. She kind of sucks, actually. And the way it resolved, while probably realistic, didn't feel enough to me. It left kind of a bad taste in my mouth. 

The whole book has a sort of melancholy flavor I wasn't expecting and didn't really enjoy, because that's not what I wanted. Yeah, I know the book starts off with a death, because, hello, I read the synopsis, and the emotional parts are all brilliant and moving, but I thought they overpowered the light parts a little too much. Also, the ending is totally abrupt. I was actually kind of shocked at where it ended.

Cricket's relationship with her dad is also appalling/heartbreaking/somewhat unresolved, but I adored the conflict between Cricket and her mother. Every character in this book is chock full of personality--particularly George and Lizzie and everyone at the Cranberry Inn, where Cricket works--and I always love that. Overall, contemporary romance lovers and those in the summer mood are going to love this. If you've read every single Sarah Dessen or Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book, you should read this ASAP. Even those who haven't ought to give this a try. Just because I had a few problems with it doesn't discount the fact that I read it in like three hours. I JUST NEEDED TO KNOW IF SHE AND ZACK WERE GONNA BE OKAY, OKAY?


  1. Sorry if this posts twice, my computer is being an idiot. I really liked this book, but I didn't fall in love with it. I agree that the romance was the best part, I wanted it to go there, but I didn't think it would. I don't remember thinking Cricket was offensive, but I did want to punch her dad in the face and I did think there was quite a bit unresolved at the end.

    Great review!

    1. HER DAMN DAD. That was the most unresolved thing EVER. And yes, I wanted to punch him. It was mostly just Cricket in the beginning. I did feel for her a lot, but there were one or two odd things in her narration that just rubbed me the wrong way. Totally could be just me, though.

  2. So much about your review has me wanting to run out to the store to buy it, but so much has me putting on the brakes at the same time! I really dislike when things are left unresolved, which it sounds like a lot is here. I also feel like I might be one of those people who take offense to some of the nastier things Cricket says, especially if they don't mesh with her otherwise kind personality.

    But the promise of a swoon-worthy romance and a cast of great characters is tempting!

  3. Okay, I'm now feeling loads of regret. I didn't see that I would have time to read Nantucket Blue so I gave my copy away in a trade and now I'm really wishing I hadn't because your review is great and I want some swooooning!


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