Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Published: May 7, 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Received: egalley for review via netgalley - thanks!
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 feel the sudden craving for fried clams and a tall glass of lemonade, while burying my toes in warm golden sand as waves crash near by. Yes, this book has left me craving all the essences a New England summer possesses. Though I have never been to Nantucket, this story painted such a vivid image that I could literally taste the fresh salty air and hear the sounds of what a quaint New England beach side town has to offer. I am a huge fan of summer reads, especially those set at the beach; so I knew immediately I'd be drawn to this story written by Leila Howland. It's a debut I had been anticipating, and it was the perfect start to a steady flow of summer reads to come.
Cricket has just been invited to spend the summer with her best friend Jules, and her family, at their coveted Nantucket summer house. She's always heard all the stories, seen all the pictures, and dreamed about experiencing her own summer memories there; so when Jules' mom passes along the invitation it's a no brainer -- Cricket will be spending her summer on Nantucket island with the Claytons. It's also a relief for Cricket because she gets to escape the dreary home life of her not-so-recently divorced mother, that has sunk into a deep hole of depression, almost pulling Cricket down with her. So the plan to be bathed in warm sunshine among her most favorite family ever is the complete summer getaway package.
That perfect package crumbles to a million tiny pieces before Cricket ever steps foot off the ferry and on to Nantucket island. A tragedy among the Clayton household has put a wedge between Cricket and Jules. Being the loyal best friend that she is, Cricket takes every opportunity to be there for Jules, but in return she receives a cold best friend who wants nothing to do with her. Their plans to spend the summer together in Nantucket are ruined, but Cricket refuses to take no for an answer. She makes plans of her own and finds herself a job at a cute little Inn on the island, hoping to restore her friendship with Jules and create the summer she once envisioned.
As the reader I found myself connecting more with the setting, than the characters. Yes, I was invested in Cricket's story and how it would all play out, but truthfully it was the scenery that whisked me away and took me to a place that I did not want to leave. The relationships that Cricket encounters is both tested and revived, set against an unforgettable summer landscape. Leila Howland did a beautiful job of intertwining multiple layers to this story that wasn't just about Cricket, and somehow, these different paths all lead back to Nantucket. Overall I enjoyed the story, but I felt the ending left a few lose strands. Perhaps Howland wrote it this way intentionally, that some of life's messy happenings can't always be summed up in a final chapter.
I get that feeling of sadness when summer comes to a close. It's a detachment we all must face as we say goodbye to hot, sunny days and look ahead to the cool breeze blowing in. Leila Howland portrays this ending of summer so well that it reminds me of my own departures for a season I hold so close to my heart. Nantucket Blue is the perfect dose of summer goodness to jump-start your summer reading. I highly recommend throwing this one in your beach bag, just don't forget that tall glass of lemonade!