Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication date: May 7th 2013
My rating:  4 stars

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.

Nantucket Blue was more than I was expecting.  I looked at that amazing cover and thought: light summer read, fun and flirty romance, lazy days at the beach.  Sign me up! This was more.  It was a story about defining your identity, best friends, family, loss, and first loves.

Cricket Thompson has been best friends with Jules since eighth grade. Cricket loves Jules and her family almost in a hero worship sort of way.  So when tragedy strikes Jules’ family, Cricket wants to be there with her, comforting and consoling her.  Cricket’s plan of spending the summer with Jules in their vacation home in Nantucket is upset by this tragedy, but Cricket doesn’t give up.  The thought of spending the summer home alone with her mother, and away from Jules is more than she can take, so she makes her own way out there, taking a job as a chamber maid to do so. 

This summer is shaping up to be completely different from what Cricket expected, because Jules is less than thrilled with Cricket’s appearance.  Lonely from Jules’ rejection, Cricket finds solace in Jules’ younger brother, Zack, spending more and more time with him.  Their mutual attraction leaves Cricket breathless and excited unlike any other boy before, but it also stirs up feelings of guilt over what Jules would think.  Cricket is sure she would disapprove.  

I didn’t expect to love this story as much as I did.  I connected with Cricket right off the bat so her journey felt completely personal to me.  I was so ticked off with Jules’ treatment of Cricket, I COULDN’T STAND HER!!  I don’t care if she suffered loss, I don’t think that gave her license to be such a colossal witch!!  But at the same time I’m almost glad that Jules treated Cricket the way she did.  This forced her to wake up and realize she held value and merit all on her own, without Jules.  She made new friends, spent time alone with Zack, got insight on her mother, and landed an internship; all things that probably wouldn’t have happened had she stayed friends with Jules.  I do think Jules got off pretty lightly, but I don’t think things would’ve ever been the same between those two, even if Jules was more repentant.  Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and move on. 

Now onto the romance!  Cricket crushes on one boy in the beginning, but things in life never go according to plan.  Zack is someone Cricket knows really well, but the attraction when it clicked took her by surprise.  It’s not something she would’ve chosen, because he’s younger than her, but this worked!!  I loved it when she’d realized that Zack was flirting with her or when he sent her heart racing just by looking at him!  The romance left me warm and zinging along.  Just lovely! *sigh*

The boat drifted and his hands did, too, back to my legs, up my arms and neck. We kissed. We drifted and kissed and drifted and kissed as the sky flashed and clapped and bloomed and broke.*

There was a little bit of an unfolding mystery with Cricket’s mother’s past.  Discovering that her mother was an actual teenager with desires and thoughts much like hers had Cricket cringing and yet captivated at the same time.  It had me cracking up! I have to give a “thumbs down” to Cricket’s father.  Some definite groveling is in order, and I certainly don’t think Cricket owes any apology to him!  

I’m impressed with Leila Howard’s debut novel!  Her prose was beautiful and touching without being overly flowery.  Her characters felt real and relatable, and I could almost taste the salt air of Nantucket, right along with Cricket, from her descriptions.  I’ll definitely be on the watch for her next novel!

*Quotes taken from an uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy. 


  1. Oh I so love it when a book surprises me like this. I expect it to be light and sweet read but then it turns out to be much more. I cry my heard out for it. I think I'll add this to my summer to-read list! Great review Rachel :)

  2. Rachel, this sounds like a lovely sweet read. Except for Jules. I hate her too and I haven't read the book yet lol. But at least Zack makes up for it. Great review :)

  3. "It was a story about defining your identity, best friends, family, loss, and first loves."-------Nice! I also like books with romance in it. Thanks for the lovely review :D


  4. I had a love-hate relationship with Cricket, but I enjoyed the book a lot in the end- especially the cute romance!

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

  5. Oh, a younger love interest? I didn't gather that from the other reviews I have seen for this one. I love it when I can be taken aback by a more emotional story than I went in for at the beginning. And it's a debut? Oh, wow! I've seen about 3-4 4 star reviews now and that's pretty good for a debut novelist. Lovely review, Rachel!

  6. This one has been on my radar for a while just for the cover alone. Now there are so many positive reviews coming out for it and I am really kicking myself for having not requested it when it was on NG. I love the sound of Cricket and I think I would appreciate hating Jules for how she treats her. Also, a little forbidden romance with the younger sibling? Yes, Please! Great review, Rachel!

  7. I've been all should I/shouldn't I over this book since I first heard about it but after reading your review I'm adding it to the wishlist! This sounds like a perfect summer read with a little something extra. Thank for the review! :)

  8. I also liked this one more than I expected. I guess if Jules never did what she did to reject Cricket, Cricket would never find the courage to stand on her own. I loved the chemistry between Zack and Cricket. Great review, Rachel!

  9. I really enjoyed this one too, more so than I thought. cricket was such a great character

  10. Awesome review Rachel! I love books with beautiful beach descriptions! This is sounds like a terrific book, from a relatable main character and profound reflection on lost freindship and a family mystery. I am intriqued.

  11. You know, I have had a copy of this book for awhile and somehow couldn't get into it--maybe I was just cranky pants! I'm really glad you enjoyed it though, Rachel, I love summery reads that turn out to have more substance.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  12. I've heard a lot of great things about this one, so I'm looking forward to delving into it. It seems like the perfect summer romance! Wonderful review, Rachel!(:

  13. I am all for summery reads with substance and I love that it is about finding yourself. I have read some great things on this one and I definitely want to check it out for myself!

  14. I can't wait for this one, I've seen so many great reviews that reiterate what you said about the romance and characters. I am so glad to hear that the MC is relatable, easy to love protagonist.

    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

  15. Thanks for the review, Rachel! Sometimes I think it's a bummer when these type of books get such a sweet looking cover or summary but turn out to have all this emotional depth. It could upset some people, I mean...not that I'd mind! I love books with focus on characters and things that deal with tough topics, etc. But it's just something I've thought about. haha Glad you enjoyed the novel!!

  16. Oh, Chamber maid doesn't sound that appealing, but I've already added this book to my summer list and I'm so glad that you loved it too, Rachel! Plus, Zack sounds so dreamy and I like that he's younger than Cricket.

  17. I just love the sound of this one, even if that Jules is not the best friend. I feel like I could definitely relate to Cricket. This sounds perfect for a summertime read! Great review! :)

  18. This review serves to remind me that I really need to order Nantucket Blue. I love when a story offers more than expect. And that quote....swoon. Beautiful.
    Thanks for the great review, Rachel!

  19. Okay...WHAT IS THIS?! The day I decide to trade my copy of Nantucket Blue because I didn't see when I would get around to reading it is the SAME day where I see yours and another blogger's amazing reviews on it. It all sounds great...although I do feel a bit glad at escaping Jules ;)

  20. Somehow this book didn't work for me. I had to put it away, maybe I'll read it another time. I couldn't connect with the main character and her need to follow around her friends even when she was uninvited *sigh* But I am happy to see that many people loved this story.


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