Nantucket Blue, by Leila Howland.
It hadn't mattered how good my grades were or that I'd made varsity as a freshman; it hadn't mattered how carefully, how perfectly, I'd managed my popularity; it hadn't mattered that I'd measured and doled out my flirtations like teaspoons of sugar, never too much to be a tease, always enough to be sweet. Jules had been able to take my happiness away from me with one swift betrayal. My social life had slid from good to bad like a hockey puck across a rink.
My goal for the summer is to FINALLY work my way through the ridiculous number of NetGalley books I have downloaded, and Nantucket Blue is one of the more recently-released books on that list. I'm a sucker for a good YA book, and when you add in a summer season or beach location too, it makes it a book I definitely want to read - and Nantucket Blue takes place on Nantucket during the summer.
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.
I liked this book a lot, and it had a lot of "real world" aspects that sometime you don't see in YA. Cricket has a falling out with her best friend in Providence, Jules, after Jules' mom dies; Jules and her mom had invited Cricket to their Nantucket house, but then Jules rescinds the invite, saying that it will be "family only" this year. Cricket decides to get a job on Nantucket for the summer and surprise Jules, but Jules is more annoyed than surprised to see Cricket on her beach house doorstep.
Cricket has issues of her own, as well: her dad just remarried, and him and her stepmom recently adopted a Russian child, Alexei, who hates Cricket. Her mom stays inside and watches TV every night, giving up on having "a life." And Cricket has started seeing Jules's brother, Zack, even though he's a little more than a year younger than her, and is scared that she might be falling for him - a big no-no even though she and Jules are currently on the outs.
The beginning of the book takes place in Rhode Island, and Leila Howland has the particulars down pat; my dad was born there, and his side of the family lives there still, so I am very familiar with the area. Cricket goes to get Del's (lemonade) after school one day to get a drink, and I smiled at that: Del's is a Rhode Island institution. The novel then shifts to Nantucket, which I don't know much about except that it's very "exclusive," and Howland manages to convey the essence of that as well.
This novel is perfect for a summer beach read or for those that enjoy YA lit. It does have some flaws, but is a great "escape" for those who just want a summer at the beach.
4 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.