Title: Nantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher
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.
You've probably heard me say this before, but I love any and all contemporary stories and if they are summer themed, there's a strong likelihood I'll love it even more. And Leila Howland's Nantucket Blue was just that. But it was also more than I expected it would be. All I know is that I couldn't stop reading once I started.
Cricket Thompson thought she was going to have the perfect summer. For the first time, she was going to be able to go on a summer adventure like all of her friends. And what better way to do that than to go to Nantucket with her best friend Jules' family. But then something tragic happens and all those plans fall apart. Now Cricket is left behind as Jules leaves for Nantucket with her family, but she is still determined to have the perfect summer. On a whim, Cricket decides to pack up her bags and go to Nantucket, getting a job as a chambermaid at an inn on the island. And though things may not turn out the way Cricket thought they would, her summer is still filled with friendships, adventures and romance…just not with the people she thought.
Since I've already dedicated an entire post to my love of contemporary stories, I'm not going to go into that too much again. But I will say that Leila Howland's Nantucket Blue had everything I love in a contemporary. I mean, who doesn't love a good summer story that takes place at the beach? But Nantucket Blue was also a whole lot more than just a summer beach read. Sure, it has all the elements that are typically present in a beach read, but it was also filled with heartbreak of all kinds. If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen that by the third chapter I was already trying to hold back tears. Right at the beginning of the story, tragedy strikes and from that point on, things aren't quite as happy as I thought they would be when I started reading. But slowly, everything sort of builds itself back up. Things I thought would happen do, but they don't really happen in the way I thought they would. The friendship aspect was there, just not between the two people I expected. And for the romance, I love the way it came about. Though I could see where things were going, this relationship happened naturally and felt completely real. And I loved that romance, it wasn't too cheesy and it was just what the characters needed in order to start getting better after the tragedy that happened early on. And I'm not going to lie, the romance is an important part of why I just couldn't put this book down.
Right from the first page, I loved Cricket. There was something about her that I could just connect with. For whatever reason, I could just see a lot of myself in her. Especially her insecurities when it came to what people thought about her and how she viewed herself. That aspect of Cricket's character felt very much real to me and it was an aspect of her personality that I could really connect to. And that's probably the second reason why I couldn't stop reading. There was something about Cricket that just felt so real and I wanted to know if everything would turn out alright for her. But Cricket wasn't the only character that felt real. Though I didn't particularly like some of them, all the other characters in the story felt like real people. Liz just exploded off the page, Jules was that friend that just turned on you without really giving a reason, and Zach was that boy next door who has always been around but suddenly starts to become more. And that brings me to the third reason why I couldn't stop reading Nantucket Blue: Zach. Zach is that boy who's always been around, but you never really thought about him in any other way than as a friend, until you can't seem to think about as just a friend anymore. Like all the other characters, Zach was real to me. And for once, the good guy was good right from the start and I, like Cricket, fell for him somewhere along the way.
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland, was exactly what I wanted it to be. But it was also something more. It's hard to put into words exactly what that something more is, but it is what made me love this story as much as I did. My only wish is that I could have spent more time with these characters because, by the end, I had grown all too attached to them.