I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.Nantucket Red by Leila Howland
Series: Nantucket #2
Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 13, 2014
Genres: Young Adult
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.
Nantucket Red starts as Cricket is about to begin her last year of high school and this section of the book gives the reader a bit of a whirlwind of Cricket’s senior year, which might seem odd, but keep in mind that the focus of this series is the summer. That being said, I still think that Nantucket Red did a good job of setting up the what happens in the summer because I still got a good idea of what Cricket, Zack, and Jules all went through during the school year. Leila Howland once again invokes the summer setting so vividly that it made me want to get on the next plane to Nantucket. That feeling of summer fun combined with the nervous anticipation for the future was balanced perfectly as we follow Cricket’s adventures this time around. If you recall, in Nantucket Blue, Cricket had some family issues to work out, and her grief over the death of Jules and Zack’s mom was a big part of the story. The family situation has evened out a bit, although it is not perfect, but Jules and Zack’s mom is still a big part of Cricket’s life, and I loved that we still got to see how much her friendship with Jules still had an impact on both of them.
Cricket is as endearing, painfully flawed, and honest as ever. She does everything 100%; her grades, her ambitions, and her mistakes. I think that complete dedication to everything in her life is what draws me to her as a character. When she goes back to Nantucket to make money before her first semester at Brown, we get to visit with many of the characters from the first book, but we also get to meet a few new people that end up setting some pretty interesting things into motion. It’s not all happy things, either, and the bitter-sweetness of the plot was so appealing to me. Yes, this was a happy book, overall, but, as with cooking, a little salt brings out the sweetness. So it was with Nantucket Red. This book was really about Cricket exploring what she wanted in life. Along the way, Cricket has a little romance and a little heartbreak. One pivotal scene in the middle of the book changes the course of the summer in a big way, and it was something that I did not see coming. I could talk forever about how much I love this duology, but I don’t want to give too much away. Just know that it struck all the right notes for a summer read and the ending was absolutely perfect. If you haven’t read this series, I highly recommend it as a fantastic book for both teens and adults looking for an outstanding beach read.