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.

Quick Thoughts and Rating: Actual rating of 3.5 stars! I went into this novel expecting a cutesy beach read despite the summary of “tragic loss” and perhaps that was my biggest mistake. Parts of this novel were light and fluffy, but on a larger scale it was dealing with all the things one girl could lose: a best friend’s parent/ her fill-in mom, her best friend, a childhood crush, and faith in her own parents. Not going to lie, it was kind of depressing at time with all the things that were happening to her.

Nantucket Blue was the story of a teenage girl who had some of the worst life had to offer thrown at her, but it was also about her resilience not to let it keep her down. On top of that, she even finds a little summer romance, and doesn’t love just have a way of making things feel a little better and brighter?

♥ Review: I requested this title years ago from NetGalley, but then I fell into a book slump so deep and dark, that by the time I crawled out of it, this book had been casually tossed aside in favor of new requests that I had made. Long story short, I’m trying to recover from that time a couple of years back, and I’m attempting to make good on my promise of a review that I made when requesting this book from the publisher. This title was one of those that I had hoped to jump on first because I remembered my enthusiasm for it when I originally made the request so long ago. A little fluff and angst set in a seaside tourist-y town during the height of summer? Heck yes, sign me up!

For the most part, Howland delivered on all the aspects that I had anticipated. I really liked Cricket’s character, enjoyed the setting that came alive so vividly on the page, and the romance is one of my favorite tropes (best friend’s sibling). All those elements? Love loved! Cricket was a relatable character whose narrative I didn’t mind except for one minor thing that I’ll cover later. She was so loyal, even when certain people didn’t deserve it, and I like that when lesser people would have fumbled, she stood taller and walked with purpose. As for Nantucket, the author really delivered the scenery, the locale, and all its inhabitants with an efficient, yet pretty pose that made me feel like I was visiting a place I’d never seen before. It was easy to see why Cricket (and her mom through her diary entries) was so taken with the place. Lastly, there’s Zack. I loved his youth and sweet boyishness, but I also adored how take-charge he was in other scenarios. While I was on-board with the idea of them as a couple, I wish the author would’ve given us more time with them not just making out so that when the big I love you‘s came, I’d be more swept up in their romance. Sadly, that wasn’t the case and while I thought they were perfectly adorable together, it altogether felt rushed and like an incomplete thought.

Now, I have a few major complaints and they kind of revolve around one another. Generally, I liked the addition of the Nantucket people Cricket knew as secondary characters. I thought they were exactly what Cricket needed and I loved them for that. However, for the cast of people that she had known prior to that summer, namely her parents and her (ex) best friend, Jules, boy did I ever dislike them? We’ll tackle Jules first. I can sympathize that losing a parent could drastically alter a person (in a way that I don’t even want to really imagine), but for her to be so mean–a complete one hundred eighty degree shift from her former self–to her supposed best friend when she was trying to be nothing more than supportive? I just don’t get it. It came across as very unbelievable to me and like, perhaps, the sole purpose was for the sake of drama in the plot, which I don’t like. Secondly, there’s the whole issue with her basically absentee parents. Her mom is in a weird funk after the divorce (that was YEARS ago) and her dad is blissed out with his new wife and her adoptive son, and both phone it in when it comes to taking care of her. I could get how that would help with Cricket’s character growth and coming-of-age story, except all this was left somewhat unresolved in the end. So again, I feel like I have to ask, what was the purpose other than for the sake of drama or to be the catalyst to further push Cricket’s agenda to get to Nantucket and away from them? I think if there had been a bigger development to this side-plot of the book (more than just her mom finally leaving the house), then I could be more okay with how her parents behaved. But my biggest issue, was Cricket said a lot of stuff in her head–explanations, rationalizing, outbursts and tantrums–but she never once vocalized them when given the opportunity. Maybe it’s just that my personality dictates that I be outspoken by using my mouth instead of internalizing it or that I’m someone who believes actual communication is so important, but I just wanted her to grow a backbone. Demonstrate some of that strength she has on the lacrosse field, the same determination that had her marching to declare her love for Zack. I wanted her to tell Jules that she loves her but she’s being a sucky friend. That even though her mom just died, she’s done nothing but try to be there for her, and in return, Jules has done nothing but betray their years of friendship by trading it all in for being bitter and mean. I wanted her to tell her mom that she’s a parent, that the time for wallowing for a failed marriage has long passed over and that she should move on already and it’s time to be present. I rejoiced when she screamed at her dad, but I wish she wouldn’t have stopped. I wanted her to demand that he give her the attention she deserved because she was his flesh and blood, and no replacements or new families would ever change that. I wanted all of that for her, but more than that, I wanted Cricket to want it for herself. That was one of her major character flaws that I just couldn’t get past, and it definitely impacted my overall enjoyment of the book.

In conclusion, part of me really enjoyed this book, but other parts infuriated me beyond measure. Additionally, so much of this novel felt unfinished at the end, and that’s probably due to this being a duology or companion set. However, after having read that her and her romantic interest in this book take a nosedive in the sequel, I don’t think I’ll be continuing on with it. So, I guess that just leaves me with an unsettled feeling in my chest. But again, there were parts of Nantucket Blue that I really loved, thus my slightly-better-than-three-stars rating.

♥ Teaser Quote: 

It was sinking in because I had fallen in love. This was the thing about feelings. They found each other. You let one up and the others followed.

–quote taken from the e-ARC of Nantucket Blue at 89%

Book Rating Breakdown
Cover
Writing
Characters
Plot
Pacing
General Book Feels
Cute, Fuzzies, Flutters
Angst Me So Good
Overall:

♥ Rec It? Perhaps. I think it will really depends on how forgiving of a person you can be. I wanted to really love this for the cute, summery romance beach novel it could have been, but I couldn’t let my distaste for a few of the secondary characters carry the momentum of my general enjoyment of this novel. Parts of it were fluff and flutters, but other parts of it felt like drama with all capital letters.

♥ A very special thanks to Disney Hyperion and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this title.

*Disclaimer: An e-copy of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.

I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥

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