Bookanista Rec :: NANTUCKET BLUE

I’m so excited to share one of my most anticipated 2013 novels:
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
(Reviewed for the Debut Author Challenge and The Bookanistas)

From GoodreadsFor 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.

Nantucket Blue turned out to be just what I was expecting: beachy and romantic, a fresh take on mature contemporary YA. It’s similar in tone to the stories I write, and very much the type of book I enjoy reading. I adore its lovely, washed-out cover, and the fact that Jenny Han blurbed it, well… that says a lot.

It took some time for protagonist Cricket to grow on me. She’s got a lot going on with her parents and her best friend, and at the beginning of the novel, she struck me as needy and rather dense. I never disliked her — her flaws made her feel like a fully drawn character — but at times they also made her a bit difficult to connect with. While Cricket always has the best of intentions, I think she comes into her own when she starts working at the Cranberry Inn. The friends she makes there (Liz and George in particular) help Cricket find confidence, at which point she becomes a protagonist who is  easy to relate to, and a joy to root for.

Cricket’s voice is definitely worth mentioning. It’s authentically teen without ever feeling like author Leila Howland is trying too hard. There are times when Cricket makes some truly excellent life observations, and times when she is genuinely funny. I love when a novel makes me laugh in public, and Nantucket Blue did on several occasions.

I have two favorite things about Nantucket Blue. First, the setting. I have never visited Nantucket (or any of the surrounding areas) but obviously I need to. I adore small oceanside towns, and Leila Howland makes Nantucket feel positively magical. The sandy beaches, the specialty shops, and the quaint inns. The tasty food, the Fourth of July celebrations, the warmth and the water and the phosphorescence… Who wants to plan a writers’ retreat in Nantucket?

And my second favorite thing about Nantucket Blue? The romance, of course! I won’t tell you who Cricket’s off-limits love interest turns out to be, but I will say that the relationship is very well done. The boy is adorable and respectful and honest, and the romance is an innocent, tingly, delightful kind of romance. It’s one that makes both characters better, fuller people, and it makes this book a total page-turner. Too cute! Also, I love how it all wrapped up. ♥

Pick up Nantucket Blue if you’re looking for sweet, summer read with just the right amount of depth, and don’t forget to check out what my fellow Bookanistas are recommending today:

Carolina Valdez Miller celebrates 17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma

Carrie Harris awakens you to INSOMNIA by Jenn Johansson…with giveaway

Christine Fonseca praises THE PLEDGE by Kimberly Derting

Corrine Jackson is wild for WHEN IT HAPPENS by  Susane Colasanti

Elana Johson invites you to her ABANDON release par-tay!

Lenore Appelhans  swoons for STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood…
With an annotated snippet

Stasia Ward Kehoe is wild for THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
by Stephen Chbosky

Tracey Neithercott  highlights WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE
by Trish Doller

Tracy Banghart  raves over JUMP WHEN READY by David Pandolfe

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And learn more about the Debut Author Challenge HERE.