Title: Nantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Source/Format: Personal Library / Hardcover, 294 pages
Opening Sentence: “Even without Holly Howard and Dori Archer, who’d been suspended for drinking on campus, we were supposed to win that game.”
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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 hate to say it, but I was a little disappointed by Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland. I wanted to love it because so many people I follow said it was “so, so, so” good, but it was lacking in a few ways for me. I didn’t hate it though, so that’s an upside. In fact, I thought it was very interesting and worth the read.
I suppose my disappointment stems from the fact there was a lot of unharnessed potential. Things moved very quickly in Nantucket Blue (not usually a bad thing) and a lot of the time that meant things weren’t fully explained. Several times I was reading and the main character, Cricket, would come to a conclusion without fully explaining it to the reader. *MILD SPOILER* I mean, just because a guy likes to go shopping doesn’t mean he is gay. Please give me something other than that to support your theory. You know? *END SPOILER* It’s not just the character, though. Throughout the entire story it seemed like the events of the book were being told to the audience but never really detailed or explained. It was almost as if Howland was afraid of over-describing things and therefore didn’t describe enough. I don’t like to linger on technicalities when I’m writing a review, but I felt in this particular instance it was important to my point. Like I said: Nantucket Blue had so much potential. A lot of it was harnessed… a lot of it wasn’t.
When we get down to characters I have to admit I wasn’t too thrilled about Cricket. There wasn’t anything about her I found particularly interesting. I don’t think she even grew very much throughout the story. She’s basically over-the-top naive. Her “best friend” was treating her like shit and she kept blaming herself for it, she put way too much weight on someone else making her happy, and she was just sort of slow. Not stupid, but slow to catch on to things. Oh, and she was 18 and didn’t have any idea what horniness was? *MILD SPOILER* I have a sore spot with that fact because it’s terribly inconsistent. She knew what her mother meant by having to “wring out” her underwear but she doesn’t know what horniness is or feels like? I find that hard to believe. *END SPOILER* I guess Cricket’s naivety is what I disliked most about her. She was so devoid of self-respect and it wasn’t even marked as an issue in the novel. It wasn’t touched on at all.
I was okay with Zack, was whatever about Cricket, and hated Jules… but the characters I really liked were secondary. Liz, Gavin, and George from the Inn Cricket worked at on Nantucket were wonderful. Obviously they all have their own things going on, but if anyone helped to thrust the plot forward (and help Cricket) it was them. All three of the characters were rather quirky and had faults of their own, but they were by far the most likable characters in the entire novel. I would love to see more of them.
As you can see I’m rather torn over Nantucket Blue. It’s a very character driven novel, but I unfortunately found the main characters sort of… bland. (“Bland” isn’t quite the word I was going for, but I can’t think of a way to describe what I mean. Sooorry.) Other than that, though, there was very little that turned me off from the book. I enjoyed everything I read and finished it in just a couple days’ time.