Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading … Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just Finished Reading … Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue
by Leila Howland
To be published by Disney-Hyperion
on May 7, 2013

Source: e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. Please see my full FTC disclosure on right sidebar.

Connect with the author: Twitter : Tumblr.



Summary (adapted 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. 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.

My take: I don't know what the weather is like where you live, but around here, spring is in bloom and summer is lurking around the corner. Which makes me long for some lazy days reading in the sun. Reading Nantucket Blue was almost as good as a day at the beach. The book does a great job of capturing the feel of teenage summers -- the sense of possibility, the promise of romance, all wrapped up with in scent of sunscreen and the sound of Top 40 hits on the radio.

After a tragedy in her best friend's family ruins Cricket's plans of summering with them in Nantucket, Cricket decides she'll make the summer happen on her own. Cricket was a character I didn't love at first, but she slowly grew on me. Her relationship with her best friend Jules was an unequal one, with Jules holding all the power and Cricket always feeling uncertain. And I while I felt Cricket's despair at losing her best friend, I never understood what Cricket saw in Jules. Still, I can fully accept that for a teenage girl, losing a best friend can be even more devastating than a romantic breakup, and I thought this aspect of the story was movingly portrayed.

I'm fairly familiar with Nantucket and, while I thought some of the scenes felt a bit predictable -- stuff like crusty Nantucketers in faded Murray's Toggery pants snubbing the washashores with their ACK bumper stickers -- the book does do a good job of depicting the uneasy relationship between the locals who live on Nantucket year round, the people who vacation there, and the army of seasonal workers who make hotel beds and sling fried clams when the island's population increases five-fold in the summer months. The scenes of Cricket working at the inn were my favorite -- Cricket's blunt, funny co-worker Liz was a standout and their exchanges about cleaning other people's toilets were priceless. Liz was a far better friend to Cricket than Jules ever seemed to be.

Nantucket Blue had an abundance of plot lines. There was the Clayton family tragedy, the breach in Jules' and Cricket's friendship, the death of a local politician, Cricket's discovery of her mother's journal, Cricket's relationship with a writer staying at the inn, and Cricket's forbidden summer romance. While many of these did converge toward the end, I did wonder if the story might have been stronger if it had been streamlined a bit. While I enjoyed Cricket's secret romance, I also felt that in some ways Cricket treated him like Jules treated her. This worried me, as he was so emotionally fragile.

This book reminded me of the Summer I Turned Pretty  by Jenny Han. Both books feature a family tragedy, a secret romance, a vivid summer setting and a girl who is trying to navigate the minefields of teen friendship and love.

Tell me in comments: what's your favorite summer-themed book?

38 comments:

  1. I can't think of any summer books right now but I'm hoping to be able to put this one on the list-it just screams summer!

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    1. Ooh, I'll have to make a list of some of my favorites. I love summer books!

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  2. Haven't read the Jenny Han books, but I do have this one coming up for review. Guess I'd better get on that since there are SO MANY May releases. I'm definitely in the mood for a good summer book. :)

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    1. Glad you are getting more into realistic fiction. Can't wait to see what you think.

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  3. I've heard so many great things about Jenny Hans books but I still haven't read any! I'm really trying to think of a summer themed book that I loved but I can't really think of anything lol. Either way, this book sounds pretty good so I think I might give it a shot. Great review!

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    1. Definitely try this and also The Summer I Turned Pretty!

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  4. Might have to hit the beach with this book!

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  5. It is currently snowing where I am right now so I could definitely use a summer read just to get a change of scenery, I can't wait for those lazy summer months to get here. This book wasn't originally on my radar but I think I will give it a try when I'm looking for a beach read!

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  6. I'm going to keep tabs on this one. Thanks for an insightful review; I appreciate the detail given how many books are out there! tough to narrow down what to pick up :)

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  7. Hmmm... I love the cover and the premise. It seems like maybe my expectations were a bit high for NB, but I'll still read it.
    Thanks for the helpful review!

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  8. The Summer I Turned Pretty is a great comparison, although Belly annoyed me a lot in that book:) I REALLY loved the Nantucket setting in this one, that's an area of the country I have never visited so that was a treat. And I LOVED the fun characters at The Cranberry Inn, especially Liz and George:)

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    1. Well, see that is one of the reasons I find them similar. I found both Belly and Cricket mildly annoying at times. You've got to get to Nantucket one day -- it's really beautiful.

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    2. You're right, Cricket was mildly annoying as well.

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  9. You know, I had a hard time connecting with Cricket too, and something about the writing style left me a bit disconnected. I even started this at the beach, which I thought was the perfect setting! I had decided to DNF it, but I don't know...now your review has made me reconsider that, hah. Great review, Jen.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. That has happened to me a lot lately -- I DNF and then a review makes me reconsider!

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  10. I'm not sure if it was you or someone else who told me this book is similar to The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy but when I read the book I didn't feel that vibe. HOWEVER I did enjoy it. I liked how Cricket didn't take the crap her best friend threw at her.. however i have to say the second half of the book was more interesting than the first half. I was a bit wary of the love interest but really warmed up to him at the end.. i have to say, Cricket may be a bit insensitive but I guess she's young, and makes mistakes. At least she learns from them. I do have to agree about there being a bit too many subplots but they weren't that bad.

    great review,
    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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    1. It could have been me who told you that. For me both books had immature main characters who grow up during the course of the story, both look at two families intertwined by friendship, both give a very vivid portrayal of a summer at the beach, both have a main character who has a best friend that I desperately wished they would ditch.

      They were different, too. NB has the "story within a story" thing going on with the mother's journal. And TSITP has that excruciating love triangle….

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  11. I. Can't. Wait. For. Summer. Books! I'm hoping to read a bunch of them this year. And I do love realistic fiction. I may need to check this one out. Maybe this summer. I don't know that I have a favorite summer read. I'll have to find one. :)

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  12. I have this and am planning on reading and reviewing it - so I skipped reading your review and will come back after I've posted mine. It looked and sounded like a fabulous summer read. I'm happy you reviewed because that means it was worth a read since you don't post reviews of books you didn't like. :)

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

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  13. This is on my list to read soon and I'm pretty excited. I don't really expect the book to blow my mind, but I need something different from all the aliens and vampires and dystopian worlds. It's all stressing me out! So I think this one might work even if there's some tragedy stuff and whatnot. Fantastic review!

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    1. I agree that I love reading a contemporary after a lot of dystopians and paranormals...

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  14. I enjoyed this one and loved the plot lines, I think abit more than you... but I def get what you mean about the guy in question being emotionally fragile
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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    1. I just tend not to love books with a lot of plot lines (or a lot of POV characters) unless the book is a thriller. But that's just me!

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  15. I love seeing the comparison to The Summer I Turned Pretty! I'm hoping to read this next week ... hope I love it! :) I need a good summer book.

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    1. LOL -- not everyone agrees with me. See what you think!

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  16. Hmmm... I have this one for review too, just haven't gotten to it yet. I better get on it! ;) It's spring here too, with summer quickly approaching. After the chilly spring we've had so far, I could really go for a beach read! :)

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  17. Okay, I am sooooooooooo reading this! Perfect for what I'm in the mood for, and I've had good luck with this publisher.

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  18. This sounds a bit like Twenty Boy Summer, which I loved. Have you read it? Man... I got dizzy reading the list of plotlines....

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  19. I loved the summer I turned pretty. Totally have to check it out. Nice review.

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  20. I didn't really take interest in this book but it sounds like a great read. It sounds like the perfect escape book and since I live in the Caribbean the setting of Nantucket sounds so new and different to read about. I don't think The Sky Is Everywhere is set in the summer and it is very sad but I remember reading it in July or August. I also enjoyed The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series when I was younger.

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    1. Also Wanderlove for me was a great summer read, I think any book about travelling would make great summer books.

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  21. It's actually snowing today where I live and I am really looking forward to reading this one, to get me in the summer mood. It looks like an engaging read, I do like multiple plot lines usually, because it keeps me from getting bored if it's done well.

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

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