Mini review: Nantucket Red (Leila Howland)

The Deets:
Audience: YA
Publisher: May 13th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781423160953
Genre: Contemporary
Source: eARC from Netgalley

Nantucket Red (Nantucket, #2)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. 

I had no idea that Nantucket Red was a sequel. I never read Nantucket Blue, but even without the background I was fully able to understand Nantucket Red.

I hate to be the Debby Downer and say that it was just a so-so read for me, but it's the honest truth. I group this one in my "beach reads" category. It wasn't deep and thought provoking. It was, however, easy to get lost in. I have a love-hate relationship with contemporary novels. I want to love them, but most of them seem so unrealistic to me. I had similar feelings with Nantucket Red-- mainly with the mom being okay with letting her barely out of high school daughter stay on an island all summer with no parental supervision. Maybe I'm just horribly old fashioned for my young number of years? 

The characters were mostly enjoyable. I felt like Jules was a conceited snot and I did not like her at all. Cricket was likeable enough. She seemed as real as I was going to get in this book. She was not perfect, which lead to some believable unfortunate situations. I don't know the back story here, but it was pretty easy to get caught up with the drama between Cricket and Zack. I thought it was going to be a book about moving on and letting go, but it wasn't. Yes, there were some hints to that but there were other themes going on as well. (Acceptance, loss, finding oneself-- all heavy hitters here.) It would certainly be a coming of age story for Cricket, and a story of moving on for Ben (for shame, too, because he was smokin'). 

Anyhow, if you want a book to pass the hours away at the beach, Nantucket Red is a good read for you. I would have to say, though, to fully enjoy the book it seems that reading Nantucket Blue is a requirement.  


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