Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Review of Nantucket Blue by Leila Howard published by Disney-HyperionNantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Category: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: 5-7-13
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. – Goodreads














I was expecting a light and fluffy summer read about making out the beach.  What I got instead was a story about a teen who has that summer where everything changes, and by everything I mean friendship, romance, family, and the realization that what you want does not always equal what you need.  Cricket has gone to the comforting arms of her best friend’s family after her mom and dad split up.  The Clayton family is a refuge for Cricket, but the tragedy that befalls her best friend and the way Cricket tried to fix things changed my view of her place with the Claytons.  The story really gets going when Cricket decides to try to salvage the summer that falls apart and make her own way to Nantucket.  From there, it’s as if each piece of her plan is taken away and replaced with something new and unexpected.  Sometimes it’s replaced with good and sometimes it’s not.  While Cricket is navigating what she views as a life that’s falling apart, good things start popping up.  There was friendship and a wonderful romance, but it was not at all what I was expecting. I found Cricket to be very real, meaning that she was flawed and did not always make great decisions. However, she was also caring and funny and I loved the way she changed during her summer.  The quirky characters she met along the way really rounded out the story and provided a great way for Cricket to grow as a character.

The relationship that Cricket has with her mom was one of the gems in this book.  Although she spends much of the summer away from her, the way the story develops it’s almost as if Cricket gets to know two totally different sides of her mom in absentia.  There is the mom she gets to know through her teenage journal and the mom that is still reeling from a divorce and mourning the loss of a marriage.  After I finished reading the book, I was amazed at how well done that interaction was.  It’s so easy to see your parents as only being parents, without a life before you were born, right?  One of the things I remember when I was a teen was that realization that *gasp* my mom had a life before I was born!  She had boyfriends and parties and adventures.  As Cricket goes on her own journey of discovery, she realizes that there isn’t a magic formula for being happy again.  It was very touching because Cricket just wanted her old mom back and her frustration with the divorce really came through in the storytelling.  Some of Cricket’s attempts to make things right were hilarious (think trying to get your mom into online dating) and well-meaning, but when she finally saw her mother outside of parenting, that was when the real understanding happened.  I’m going on and on about this because I thought it was so well done and something that both adults and teens will be able to relate to. Nantucket Blue is a good book for the beach, yes, but I think you will find that it’s also an emotionally complex story full of characters you can relate to and a wonderful bitter-sweetness that will stay with you for a long time.

I received this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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10 responses to “Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

  1. I think this book is going to be of those that I fall in love with because I can relate so much. This is one of my most highly anticipated books of the year, and even though I have an ARC, I’ve been putting off reading it because I’m worried about not liking it. Your review is really positive though, so I’m guessing I don’t need to worry. The exploration into Cricket and her mother is really interesting because that’s definitely something we don’t often see in YA.

  2. I’m very excited to read this book! There’s something lovely about the idea of a summer (or any period of time really) where it feels like your life changes COMPLETELY. Of course, it’s always better when it ends up being for the good! I love the summery feel to this one, and can’t wait to read it.

  3. I kind of just wrote this book off thinking it was going to be a fluffy, contemporary summer read. I mean beach and boys, I didn’t really think this book would be for me. But it sounds so different and I’m intrigued about seeing the interaction Cricket has with her mother and watching her get to know her mom in a different light. Thanks for such a great review!

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