Friday, April 18, 2014

Title: Nantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Series: Nantucket, book #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Source: from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to 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.

Man, I've had my review copy of this book since this time last year. I've always planned on reading it because now that I'm apparently a hard-core fan of contemporaries, it sounds like my kind of story. But when I received a copy of the sequel for review, I knew I had to get my butt in gear.

So, I expected a fun romp in the summer sun with this book, and though there were moments of levity, I found the story a bit deeper, a touch sadder, than I was expecting. A loved one lost. The bridge of friendship burned. And the embers of a budding relationship drowned before they really ever had a chance to burn. But it wasn't all doom and gloom, especially not when Cricket found herself in the company of someone she least expected.

The unorthodox romance in this story was probably its selling point for me, besides the things that Cricket discovers about herself during her first summer completely on her own. But I also appreciated that while her friend Jules was playing the role of douchebag in this story, Cricket found friendship in the unlikeliest of places, and that those friends proved to be much truer to her than Jules had ever hoped of being. I understand that Jules suffered a loss that threw her for a huge loop, but that's no reason to alienate your best friend and throw her under the bus just for the hell of it.

Nantucket Blue was a realistic coming-of-age story, full of love, grief, and regret, but maybe not in that order. I felt like the ending left a little to be desired, that it was a little rushed, a little too open. But overall, I think this was a great debut and it made me even more excited for the sequel. And I wish I could go back in time and spend a summer on Nantucket as a teenager! :D

GIF it to me straight:

Title: Nantucket Red
Author: Leila Howland
Series: Nantucket, book #2
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Source: received for review from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
Cricket Thompson's lifetime of overachieving has paid off: she's headed to Brown University in the fall, with a spot on the lacrosse team and a scholarship that covers almost everything. Who knew living in the dorm cost money? An Ivy League education seems to mean living at home for the next four years.

When Cricket is offered the chance to earn enough cash to afford a real college experience, she heads back to Nantucket for the summer. But the faraway island challenges Cricket in ways she hadn't anticipated. It's hard to focus on earning money for next year, when she finds her world opening up in entirely new ways-to art, to travel, and, most unexpectedly, to a future completely different from the one she has been working toward her whole life. A friendship blossoms with Ben, the gorgeous surfer and bartender who encourages Cricket to be free, even as she smarts at the pain of seeing Zack, her first love, falling for her worst enemy.

But one night, when Cricket finally lets herself break all her own rules, she realizes she may have ruined her carefully constructed future with one impulsive decision. Cricket must dig deep to fight for her future, discovering that success isn't just about reaching goals, but also about listening to what she's been trying to ignore-her own heart.

Unfortunately, I read the synopsis for this book before I ever picked up Nantucket Blue, so I knew things were going to go awry for Cricket, even after the ups and downs of the previous summer. But a first love is just that. A first love. So, I was okay with the realistic turn the romance took in this book...for the most part.

There's a new -- older -- love interest in this sequel, but despite how hot everyone declared Ben to be, I could still tell that Cricket just wasn't feeling it. Or that she wouldn't allow herself to feel it because she was still pining away for Zack. It didn't help matters that she seemed to bump into Zack everywhere on the island. But from the tension rolling off of Zack at times -- especially when he saw Cricket with Ben -- I think it was pretty obvious that he wasn't quite over Cricket either.

It made me kind of sad that Cricket gets one sibling back in her life, only to lose the affections of the other. Yes, Jules has decided to play nice again, and shocker of shockers, she's actually dating Cricket's old crush, the one she'd planned to spend last summer with instead of Zack before "Evil Jules in Mourning" struck. But that's neither here nor there because apparently Cricket couldn't care less. But I still cared and I much preferred when Cricket was hanging out with Liz, even if Liz was going through her own stuff in this book.

I was actually impressed with how Cricket's character evolved in this book, too. She seemed a bit shallow in the first book, and though she still kind of is in this one, I saw a different side of her, one that questioned the path her life was on and if it's what she wanted or what everyone else wanted for her. This book isn't just about the romances and friendships; it also focuses on that pivotal summer between high school and college. There's just something magical about those final three months before becoming a true adult and striking out on your own. :)

I liked Nantucket Blue, but I really liked Nantucket Red. There was one aspect of the plot involving that "worst enemy" that I could have done without completely, at least in the way it developed, but overall, I think this was a great sequel, and I'm much happier with this ending than that of the first book. These are great summer reads for anyone looking for a little romance with their coming-of-age story.

GIF it to me straight:
Happy ending is happy.

About the author:

LEILA HOWLAND loves to read, explore L.A., and engage in funny and meaningful conversations with her friends and family, especially her brother who calls from Washington D.C. whenever he’s waiting for the bus. A lot gets discussed in those phone calls, but they tend to end abruptly when the bus shows up. She can really cut the rug, but wishes she could sing without people covering their ears. A graduate of Georgetown University, Leila spent five years acting in New York where she was a company member of the award-winning Flea Theater in Tribeca. It was a lot of fun and she often talks about “getting back into it.” The closest she has come was a stint as an extra on The Young and the Restless in 2010. Leila now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two dogs. She teaches high school English and blogs for HelloGiggles. NANTUCKET BLUE is her first novel.

Find Leila:

Tumblr | Twitter | Goodreads


  1. It's almost summertime! I've had these for what seems like forever, but I wanted to wait to read them until the weather was nicer. :) Time to read them now, yay!

  2. It's funny, because I read Nantucket Blue, and I remembered really liking it, so I requested the sequel. then I went back and read my review of blue and realized that while I liked it... I might not have liked it enough to want to grab the sequel for review, ya know. I felt like she seemed so young in the first one. So much younger than her character was, and that bugged me. But the sequel is when she's older so I'm hoping she comes off a bit more mature. Now that I see you liked it, I'm looking forward to it a little more now. :)

  3. I didn't know about these, but sometimes I'm in the mood for this style of coming of age story. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Loved Nantucket Blue! Can't wait to read Nantucket Red

  5. I wasn't thrilled with the first one. I have the second one and I hope it's better. I was annoyed with the MC in the first one. Hope the MC of the second one is better. The story had a lot of potential but I didn't love the execution.

  6. "A loved one lost. The bridge of friendship burned. And the embers of a budding relationship drowned before they really ever had a chance to burn." <--- you turning into a poet, Jen!? such a pretty description!
    Oops. LOL, I spoiled myself with your review of the sequel. Not that I actually planned to read these. See them all over the place, all the time, but they never attracted my attention enough.
    Regardless, great reviews! Peaked my interest a bit :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...