Author: Leila Howland
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Number of Pages: 304
Release Date: May 7, 2013
My rating: 3.5 out of 5
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Cricket cannot wait for the summer to begin. She is supposed to go to Nantucket for the first time with her best friend, Jules. Jules' family goes to Nantucket every year and Cricket's excited to see the house that's featured every year in their Christmas cards, eat at the restaurants she always hears about, and go to the parties Jules attends. Mostly, she's excited because the boy she's been crushing on for years, Jay, is also going to Nantucket for the summer and she just knows that if she's there too, that this will definitely be the year the two hook up. But when the unthinkable happens all of their summer plans evaporate. Jules is still going to Nantucket, but she tells Cricket that she can no longer come with them because her father wants it to be family only.
Cricket isn't ready to give up on her dream of a summer spent in Nantucket, though, and decides to go anyway. She secures a job with room and board and packs up to go. Her first job falls through, but she immediately secures a new job at a cute little inn as a chambermaid. So instead of a summer full of laying out on the beach, flirting with Jay, she finds herself stripping beds and cleaning toilets. Even worse, Jules doesn't seem at all happy to see her and publicly shuns her at a party. Even though she's now alone, Cricket decides to stick it out for the summer knowing that nothing really waits for her at home either.
Even though this cover screams fluffy beach read, there are some fairly serious themes at work. Cricket is having a hard time at home. Her mother and father are divorced which has left her mother empty and depressed. Her father, meanwhile, is with a new woman and her 3 year-old adopted son. Cricket feels out of place with his new family, feeling like she's been replaced, and hates being sucked into her mother's depression. She spends all of her time at the Claytons. She often sleeps there and treats Nina, Jules' mother, like her own mom.
While its hard not to take Cricket's side in her fight with Jules, frankly I could empathize with Jules and understood her behavior. People handle grief and tragedy in different ways. I tend to be the type of person who closes up and pushes others away. I could see how she felt like Cricket was just too close and I was already thinking that I would have been incredibly annoyed by Cricket's actions way before it was revealed why Jules was annoyed with her. During the incident, I was definitely thinking, "Whoa, Cricket, you are definitely stepping over the line." So while I'm sure you are bound to read reviews about how much Jules sucked and how she wasn't really Cricket's friend, it's not the way I feel about it. These are teenage girls and I appreciated the author making their friendship realistic. Nothing is worse than fighting with your best friend when you're at that age. I can still remember the stomachaches I used to get whenever I fought with my best friend in high school.
I saw the love interest coming from miles away, but I still really enjoyed it. Even though it doesn't overwhelm the book, it does give the story a needed levity. The romance is so cute and sweet and I was definitely rooting for the two to be together. I was surprised how big of a role Cricket's virginity played in the story. She thinks about losing her virginity often and when her and Jules were friends, they also often discuss it. Cricket is hoping this will be the summer. And she wishing for Jay to be the guy. Again, I liked that the author made Cricket so realistic. I definitely remember how important the big V was when I was that age.
Overall, I did really enjoy Nantucket Blue. I read it fairly quickly and was invested in Cricket as a character, her friendship with Jules, and her relationship with the love interest. But the book was missing something and I can't quite put my finger on what it was. I don't think it went quite deep enough. I would have been fine reading a fluffy summer romance, it was what I was expecting, but since that isn't what this was, I wish I had been giving more. I don't really know how to explain it. But again, I did enjoy this book and would recommend it if you are looking for a good beach read that has a bit of a bite.
*I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.*