Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Published by Disney Hyperion on May 7th 2013
Page Count: 294
Genre(s): YA, contemporary, romance
Format: Paperback, gifted
Would I Recommend? Um…..not really. Unless you have the patience to deal with a whiny, attention-seeking protagonist and a crappy best friend. As you can probably tell from my rating, I didn’t.
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.
I went into this book with super high expectations. I mean, I guess I go into a lot of books with super high expectations, but this one seemed different. Nantucket Blue had the potential to be an amazing summer read, with its gorgeous cover and its promising premise that hinted at being a fun beach read with some added darker themes to give it some depth. Unfortunately, I was left wanting much, much more.
Almost from the first page, I could tell that Cricket and I were not going to get along. Despite the huge tragedy that she and her best friend were both “overcoming,” she seemed remarkably attention-seeking. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why the protagonists in books make mistakes, or even when they appear to be incredibly self-centered at times. In fact, their flaws almost always make me like them even more – they seem more genuine, more real. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing about Cricket. I tried to understand her, I really did. But every move she made in the midst of this tragedy that completely upended her best friend’s life seemed like it was for her own benefit. All she seemed focused on was having the perfect social life, the perfect body, the perfect boyfriend. I mean, really? I could sense Howland trying to add in some “deeper” grieving moments, but that lasted for about…..oh, a page. Two pages, at most. The emotions Cricket went through seemed unrealistic and naive, and I honestly could not stand her.
Which brings me to another character…..Jules. I didn’t despise Jules, but I definitely didn’t like her, either. She was just…..mean. Besides that one distinctive personality trait, she seemed like a pretty flat character. Honestly, I think I can forgive her behavior for the most part, though – she had gone through incredibly tough circumstances, so it’s understandable.
When I went into this book, I was expecting a well-structured friendship between Cricket and Jules. This probably led to my biggest disappointment of all, because there’s honestly nothing I love more in a book than a good, well-developed friendship between two characters. I can understand that the circumstances caused the girls to go through a decent share of best friend drama, but honestly, I think Howland made this way too dramatic. I could understand if it was just one or two events that might have made their relationship a bit shaky, but really? Enough is enough. At one point, I was so frustrated with the girls’ meanness towards each other that I almost closed the book. The thing is, with the way Howland described Cricket and Jules’s friendship before the “accident” occurred, you would definitely expect to see them stick together to try to avoid the fallout, even if this does include having a bit of drama. It just seemed so unrealistic, because with the way the author described it, their friendship should be strong enough to stand whatever circumstances should happen to them, no matter how severe. By the end of the novel, I was honestly rooting for them to not be friends again.
I felt pretty neutral about Cricket’s love interest. He was sweet, I suppose, but I can’t really find anything else about his personality that made him desirable. This may sound harsh, but like Jules, he just seemed like a pretty flat character to me. He also made some extremely stupid and ridiculous decisions, but I guess I could understand them for the most part because of the situations he was going through.
I didn’t like Cricket and her love interest’s (LI) relationship at all. At first it was kind of cute, but after that, things just escalated way too fast. I mean, I’ll spare you guys the details, but some scenes just seemed WAY overdone. Cricket and LI’s relationship was literally the epitome of insta-love.
Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style, I enjoyed the fast pacing. It was nice to get a break from my usual slow-moving contemporaries, and while some scenes might have been done too fast, I thought it was actually pretty enjoyable overall. There were some cutesy scenes that I did really enjoy, and I also thought the ending was well-done.
I know the majority of this review was me ranting on and on about how so many things bugged me, but in reality, it was okay. I mean, there were some parts that made me want to throw my paperback copy of it across the room (don’t worry – I restrained myself), but I did like the pacing, exotic setting, and fun themes. Overall, though I wouldn’t exactly recommend this novel, it did have its moments.