Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Release Day Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
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.
”add
Publishes in US: May 7th 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA contemporary
Source: Disney Hyperion for review
Series? No

Buy it:  Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound BookDepository.com

Find Leila online: site   twitter  blog

    This is a great summer read, but with an emotional punch. Nantucket Blue has a complex plot, and I love how everything works together to make Cricket, the main character, stronger and realize more about herself. 
    I really connected with Cricket. Her uncertainty, her self esteem issues, the way she loves fiercely and how she wants to do the right thing. She was a great main character, and I loved journeying in her head, and watching her discover herself and grow through this summer away from home. I also loved a remark she made about comebacks, that they never came at the right time, but later when she couldn't use them. But Jules always had the right thing to say, and that made their friendship balance. Not only do I relate to the not knowing what to say, I have been there. She also made a remark about seeing popularity and how it plays out, and that it doesn't go away after high school. That seemed almost insurmountable, but unfortunately it is true. I am 28 and I still feel left out and see the back biting and fakeness of some of the relationships around me, and its sad. 
    Nantucket Blue begins the emotional very soon in. I thought that it would be later in the book, but it snuck right in there. I knew that the blurb mentioned a tragedy, but I guess that I was expecting more fluffy than the emotional distress that everyone was in. But it was all amazingly written and I could relate with what everyone was going through, and it felt like it was coming off the page in waves.  
    The writing is almost poetic at times, and the whole story is beautifully written. I think it expressed well feelings that I have had at times, and was unable to really express. But one thing that Cricket though really stuck with me. 
"And I knew that it had only been a week of being alone in the world, but a week is a long time to feel like that."
    There is a fabulous cast of characters, and each brings something to the story. There is George, the journalist, who takes Cricket as an intern on the side, and she learns so much about people, and what she wants through him. Liz is a co-worker and what she deemed herself as the top adviser of matters of the heart for Cricket. How they worked together and had real conversations about things was neat. Another element is how she got to know her mom through a diary that she found. Cricket's mom had been pretty down and depressed after the divorce and these pages from her past helped Cricket to see her as a full person and gave her clues to help her mom rediscover her life. 
    The relationship with Cricket and her parents was strained but realistic. I can see how a divorce would put that stress on the family. I liked how Cricket was close to her mom, but there was still this gap because of their pain. And there are moments--the great dad challenge that I am thinking of, that shows how close they used to be and it is clear that Cricket is hurting. I hate that in this book we didn't really see a full resolution, but there was hinting at reconciliation, so I will just make it a perfect world in the open end that the story leaves with this thread and let them figure it all out. 
    Cricket and her best friend Jules have a rich past, and you can see how close they were before the tragedy, but their friendship was anything but simple and beautiful after. I didn't quite get the divide with their relationship but the reasons made sense when they began to slowly repair their friendship later in the book. I knew that Jules was grieving and there is a quote that I think sums everything perfectly, but it was still hard to watch Cricket be in so much pain from mean things Jules said, and being pushed away. 
"It's like there is a wall around her right now. And no one is allowed in. No one."
"Parker is."
"Parker can't even see the wall. That is the whole point."
     There is a forbidden love, and I enjoyed every minute. It is unexpected and I loved the slow build. The banter, the friendship, the stolen kisses, and more. There is some swoon worthy moments and I just had to share one.
Then the feeling changed again, into something brighter, something alive and jumping, like a sparkler in my chest, when I slid into the front seat next to him and our thighs touched.
Yeah, it is that kind of love story. And it rocked. But that didn't mean it was perfect. Their relationship was being hidden from someone who could feel very betrayed because of it, and some decisions that ultimately led to clarity from Cricket also hurt the lover. 
     But the ending was bittersweet, and everything wrapped up to my satisfaction. So, through the pain and rising above it, still choosing to live and learn and love. 

Bottom Line: Powerful and emotional but fun summer read about loss, love, and the hope of healing.

Books similar to Nantucket Blue: Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz, Second Chance Summer by Morgan MatsonUnbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Have you ever had a friend change so drastically that you feel you don't know them anymore?

51 comments:

  1. Awesome! I wouldn't have expected poetic writing from a book like this, but it sounds amazing! I appreciate that this one is emotional, but would still make a good beach read. Great thoughts!

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    1. It def would, the setting is so summeresque

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  2. I have an eARC of this book and I am planning to start it today. I am so glad to hear that it is well written and that you could connect with the main character! I LOVED Second Chance Summer so I really hope I will love this one as well (:
    Great review!! Thanks for sharing.

    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

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  3. I love that this was so emotional from the start, but what I find even more intriguing is the beautiful writing you mention. I am ALL for gorgeous, poetic prose. I should have requested this, but now I'll just go ahead and buy a copy.
    Great review!

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  4. Great review. With a character called Cricket how could this fail to be anything other than a good read.

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    1. So interesting, never seen that name before now

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  5. Cricket sounds like a fantastic character and I'm glad you connected with her. I feel like I would too! I've not heard much about this book, but I would definitely like to check it out :)

    Janina @ Synchonized Reading

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  6. Yeah, I've had plenty of those. I wasn't planning on reading this book but you've swayed me now! Think I will grab copy :)

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  7. I really enjoyed this, too. I really liked Cricket as a character and the secondary characters, especially the love interest and Liz and George. Great review. Thanks for stopping by my review!
    -Natalie @Natflix&Books

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  8. I usually have to have a total HEA ending, but I can totally take bittersweet as long as it is very satisfying. Really liking the sound of the romance in this one. Must check it out!

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    1. Oh, it def was bittersweet, a perfect fit for the book

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  9. Forbidden love is always a hit

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  10. I hadn't heard of this one, so thanks for putting it on my radar! It does sound like a perfect summer read! And I'm totally with you on the fake people thing--it seems like if you were a part of the popular crowd in high school, you feel like you have to continue to be that person when you grow up. And those people are the ones who fail at life, I think, since they put an emphasis on all the things that really don't matter. Great review, Brandi!

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    1. I know, it is so hard with the fake, and sometimes you can't tell when you first meet them

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  11. This sounds like a great story with a great cast of characters. Though I very rarely get around to reading contemporary books. But I'll make a note of this one. Great review Brandi.

    I started reading Half Blood by JLA today, and I'm sure you already know you're quoted in it. Congrats :)

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    1. Aw, thank you for seeing and letting me know. It is so neat to see things like that.

      This is a contemp that is prob worth it

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  12. I have this on my TBR for this month and am finding myself super eager to pick it up and read it! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much, hopefully I like it just as much!

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  13. Love the quotes and it does look like an awesome, emotionally wrenching summer read! The cover alone is delish, I can imagine myself by the beach lounging under the sun with this in my hand. The story sounds real great, dramatic, romantic with the right amount of crazy.

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    1. I know, I so wanted to be on the beach with it

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  14. I already read this one and I couldn't connect with Cricket at all. The story felt lifeless to me but I'm glad that you liked it..

    -Ariella @ Secrets of Lost Words

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    1. Aw, sorry you didn't enjoy. I think if you can't connect with the character then it will feel lifeless.

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  15. This sounds SO GOOD! I feel like I wanna meet Cricket RIGHT NOW after reading your review. Thanks, Brandi!

    I did have friends who changed so much that I didn't know if I knew them any more. I guess people do come and go in our lives and sometimes reading novels help me understand more about life and change.

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    1. I know, it is hard being close to people and then growing apart or changing

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  16. Wow Brandi this sounds good and filled with so many emotions, I am really glad you enjoyed it.

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  17. I have been eyeing this book for a while. I'll admit the pretty cover caught my eye hehe. I seriously love the sound of it thou and it makes me so excited that you enjoyed this one as much as you did. Can't wait to make time for it now. Fantastic review!


    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

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    1. The cover def attracted me and then the premise, and to me the inside is just as good

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  18. Great review. Sounds like a good summer read. Actually only the cover seems summery. The plot sounds very emotional and deep. I love the name Cricket.

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    1. There are some light moments too, and the setting is a beach town

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  19. I think it's fantastic that you connected so well to the book. That's not always an easy thing to achieve. I greatly enjoyed reading the review. Thank you so much for sharing!! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

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  20. Great review Brandi! This book sounds awesome. We're in the middle of Summer here and I've been looking for perfect afternoon reads. I also love slow-burning romance that starts with friendship.

    And yes, I once had a friend who changed so drastically that she became a stranger within a couple of months. It was sad but all I could do was accept it and move on.

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    1. Aw, sorry that you went through that with your friend

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  21. I've seen mixed reviews about this book but everyone has thier own individual experiences while reading a book and I think when you can relate or love a character in the book, it's easier to love it. I like that so many different relationships are explored in the book and as much as I like my HEA, I always have this odd soft spot for bittersweet endings. Great review! :)

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    1. That is so true about bringing in the experiences

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  22. Ooh I just started this one and am loving it so far! Glad to hear that the writing is poetic and beautiful, and that the characters are amazing. Can't wait to dive back in! Lovely review :-)

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  23. I am so glad you enjoyed this one. It was sooo good and I adored Cricket. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

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  24. I've had my eye on this one for a while now. I'm even more interested now that I know the story has a lot of depth and emotion, and that the writing is so gorgeous.
    Great review!

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  25. Originally, I wasn't quite interested in this book (I prefer my sci-fi novels, thank you very much), but I have to admit that your review has me quite intrigued. I'm glad that the forbidden love aspect was done nicely - most of the time, all they succeed in doing is annoying the hell out of me. Also, the fact that it's emotional. I love books that make me feel something, whether it be sad, happy, scared, etc. Hope I'll get the chance to try this out, and thanks for the helpful review!

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  26. I have this one as well, Brandi, but I didn't realize it wasn't just a fluffy summer read. I'm a little anxious about the romance, hope it's not of the bittersweet variety. Wonderful review. :)

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  27. I have a friend that changed, though you still see part of who he used to be is there, he is very different. And it amazes me, how he says he hasn't changed. I don't know how he just doesn't see that things are not like they were.
    I haven't seen many things about this, I don't know if I should read it though.

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