Title: Nantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Publisher: May 7th 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
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.
Jules and Cricket are besties, so much so that Cricket spends most of her time at Jules’s house. Cricket’s mom is a depressed divorcée, and Jules’ family is so welcoming and warm. Her parents and younger brother all consider Cricket part of the family, and when Jules’ invites Cricket to spend the summer with them in Nantucket, Cricket jumps at the chance to get away from her mom and live her own life.
Cricket was a sweet girl. She tried hard to be a good daughter, and in fact, did a fabulous job of it. Her mother was still depressed after her divorce, even though Cricket’s father had moved on and remarried, and Cricket had pretty much become the mother figure. She took care of her mom, made sure she ate and tried to come up with activities to help get her out of the house. Cricket was mature for her age, mostly thanks to her mom, and though she had every right to be angry, she wasn’t. She was just sad about the situation.
Her bestie Jules seemed like a nice person, but once the devastating tragedy occurred (and it was truly devastating), she almost turned into a completely different person. And not a very nice one. I can understand her sadness and moodiness, but she turned on Cricket in such a mean way, I had trouble forgiving her for it.
Besides the 2 main characters, I loved everyone else: the sassy chambermaid, the kind and observant hotel manager, the harried author… All had their own characteristics and little quirks that made them believable and likable. The dialogue was great, I appreciated how honest Cricket was, even if it was sometimes hard for her. Leila Howland has a gift for saying the most complex things in a simple and understated way; it makes the words seem more powerful.
I enjoyed the setting of Nantucket, Leila Howland did a fabulous job of making me feel like I was there with the girls. The mood and setting were all descriptive and fun. I could picture the beach, the houses and all the little shops. Even the hoity toities who summer there. It was a fun story, as Cricket learned to stand on her own, as she fell in love, as she tried to figure things out with Jules. There was sadness, but there was also funny bits and romance. Speaking of the romance, I really enjoyed it. It was spare, in that there wasn’t a lot of flirting, giggling, and coyness or “Squee, does he like me?!” But it was there and you could feel it and appreciate it for its simplicity.
The novel zips along, and the 3 month summer flies by, then the book’s over before you know it. Although I was happy with the length of the story, and the way it ended, I wanted more! More Cricket and her man, more Liz, more Gavin and more George. Just more.
I really liked this book and quite frankly, I’m surprised that this is Howland’s debut novel. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.