Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: May 7, 2013
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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 Thompson is best friends with Jules Clayton whose family life is the polar opposite of hers. Cricket's parents are divorced and her mom is depressed and pretty much hides from the world. Because of this, Cricket spends most of her time over at Jules' house hanging out with her family, especially her effervescent mother, Nina. Nina insists that Cricket come along to Nantucket with the family this summer; this thrills Cricket. A summer of lounging on the beach with her best friend sounds divine; plus, her crush, Jay, will be there this summer, too. However, tragedy strikes and Nina dies suddenly, which thwarts their plans to bring Cricket along this summer. Obviously, this is a devistating and untimely loss for the Clayton family, including Cricket who feels like an honorary member. Cricket is still determined to spend the summer on Nantucket (just not at the Clayton house) in order to support her best friend. She gets a job working as a maid at the local inn and although this sounds less than ideal, it still means she gets to spend time with Jules and maybe even hangout with Jay. Things get worse when Jules starts distancing herself from Cricket, which leaves her all alone on the island without any friends. Even though the summer doesn't turn out like she planned, it ends up being a summer to remember. Leila Howland's debut, Nantucket Blue, is the quintessential beach read that fans of Sarah Dessen will throughly enjoy.
In Nantucket Blue, Cricket, although is well-intentioned, can be a bit obsessive about the Clayton family. I could see why Jules could feel a bit smothered from time to time, because Cricket is just-so-darn enthusiastic about them. She is always over there and admires Nina tremendously, mostly because she is looking for something that her family can't provide her. This normally doesn't bother Jules until Nina tragically dies and Jules finds she needs her space. I started to then really feel for Cricket, because here she is on Nantucket without any friends other than the Claytons and Jules gives her the blowoff. This forces Cricket to think outside the box by making some new friends and getting a job. In the process, Cricket and learns about herself and life.
Some of my favorite characters are the secondary characters in Nantucket Blue, like Cricket's colleagues at the inn. In addition to working as a maid for the summer, she finds herself taking an internship with a writer and even finding time for romance. I don't want to ruin it by saying who she falls for, but it's the type of romance that is oh-so-swoon worthy, but also a bit off limits. Cricket must really think about the consequences of her actions when she falls for this particular person in Nantucket Blue.
The setting of Nantucket Blue is to-die-for. I loved every second of it. Between the beach parties, the starry night sky, the descriptions of the island and its people....let's just say I was in literary heaven. It left me wanting to plan my own escape to Nantucket.
Nantucket Blue is so much more than just a light beach romance. Cricket faces some tough situations all the while trying to navigate through her grief, her issues with her family, her complicated romance, and put back together her friendship with Jules. Yes, Nantucket Blue is pure summertime deliciousness, but it has so much more depth than your average beach read, which is why I recommend it to fans of Sarah Dessen, whose books are the same way.