Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: May 13, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
Series: Nantucket Blue (#1)
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Cricket Thompson's lifetime of overachieving has paid off: she's headed to Brown University in the fall, with a spot on the lacrosse team and a scholarship that covers almost everything. Who knew living in the dorm cost money? An Ivy League education seems to mean living at home for the next four years. When Cricket is offered the chance to earn enough cash to afford a real college experience, she heads back to Nantucket for the summer. But the faraway island challenges Cricket in ways she hadn't anticipated. It's hard to focus on earning money for next year, when she finds her world opening up in entirely new ways-to art, to travel, and, most unexpectedly, to a future completely different from the one she has been working toward her whole life. A friendship blossoms with Ben, the gorgeous surfer and bartender who encourages Cricket to be free, even as she smarts at the pain of seeing Zack, her first love, falling for her worst enemy. But one night, when Cricket finally lets herself break all her own rules, she realizes she may have ruined her carefully constructed future with one impulsive decision. Cricket must dig deep to fight for her future, discovering that success isn't just about reaching goals, but also about listening to what she's been trying to ignore-her own heart."Everything is coming up roses for Cricket Thompson. She's spent the summer with her gorgeous boyfriend, Zack, and now that he is off to boarding school, they are trying the long distance thing…sort of. She has a scholarship to Brown University and will play lacrosse for them, and she is graduating from high school with fantastic grades. Her friendship with Jules is still shaky, but she's hoping to mend it this school year. The only thing that stinks is the fact that Cricket can't live on Brown's campus next school year. She doesn't have enough money to pay for the dorm, so she is going to live at home with her mom. That is until she has the opportunity to earn enough money to pay for part of her dorm, but that would mean heading back to Nantucket this summer and becoming a waitress. This would be ideal, except for the fact that Zack and Cricket couldn't maintain a long distance relationship this past year when he was away at school and now he is dating her worst enemy. She doesn't want to run into them this summer on Nantucket, because quite frankly, she is still heartbroken. Then she meets Ben, a bartender at the restaurant she is waitressing at and sparks fly. But Cricket's summer isn't going to be an easy one with Zack around; plus, there's the shenanigans that her and Jules get into. Leila Howland's second book in the Nantucket series, Nantucket Red, is a fantastic summer read. Howland knows how to capture summer life on an island as well as the teetering precipice between high school and college.
I love Cricket and I know I had my issues with her in Nantucket Blue, but she is still one of my faves. I think her obsession with Zack and Jules' mom is a little strange (since she has her own mother whom is still alive), but other than that, I really was rooting for her in Nantucket Red. Cricket is the quintessential good girl. She is going to an Ivy League school, plays lacrosse, gets good grades, makes good decisions and works really hard almost every day of the summer. But this summer, she sort of sows her wild oats and even though she gets herself into some dreadful predicaments, it was good to see her letting loose a bit. I had a hard time dealing with some of her decisions, but I think when you are eighteen this kind of thing happens as you try and figure out who you are and what you want out of life.
Jules is back Cricket's world and thankfully, they try to mend their friendship. I never fully warmed up to Jules, but I liked her more in Nantucket Red as she proved to be a more reliable friend. Of course, Zack is back as well and essentially he broke Cricket's heart by dating Cricket's nemesis. This was a strange turn of events, but I think it's good that Cricket was able to move on without him and that's where Ben comes into the picture. Ben's is older and more experienced. He has baggage of his own, but he's perfect for a summertime romance. I was a fan! But as much I liked Ben, I was still rooting for Zack and Cricket to find each other this summer as their connection is still a strong one. Lastly, there's Liz, Cricket's good friend/roomie. I loved her! She had me laughing out loud through the entire novel; she is definitely someone I would want to hangout with.
A lot happens for Cricket in Nantucket Red. I had whiplash from some of the quick decisions that Cricket made (especially towards the end!), but overall, I really enjoyed this summertime read. If you read Nantucket Blue, you will definitely enjoy this sequel. Although it lacked some of that extra special magic that the first book had, I still enjoyed revisiting Cricket, her friends and the beautiful island of Nantucket. If you are new to this series, I urge you to pick up Nantucket Blue this summer and its sequel, Nantucket Red, especially if you are a fan of summertime reads.