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.  

Review: The Here and Now (Ann Brashares)

The Deets:

Audience: YA
Genre: sci-fi; dystopian
Pages: 242
Publisher: April 8th 2014 by Delacorte Press
ISBN: 9780385736800
Source: eARC from Netgalley

The Here and NowFollow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

Well, it's been well over 2 months since I read this one. I forgot to write a review right away, and then I got busy reading. So, here I am. Writing a review several months later about a book that was enjoyable while I read it, but really unremarkable after the fact.

Sorry for the fans of Ann Brashares. I never read her other books, so I have nothing to compare her writing to. The writing, actually, wasn't bad at all. The Here and Now was a super fast read with a steady pace. It just didn't wow me. I think the market has been flooded with sci-fi/dystopian books lately. And since I've read so many of them, it's becoming increasingly harder to impress me. That's it in a nutshell.

So what can I say 2 months later? Not a whole lot, I'm afraid. I can say you will probably enjoy this one because there is a certain mystery behind Prenna for about half of the book. Then you're going to figure things out. From that point on you are seeing it through because you feel committed. It's not going to have some huge plot twist or shock factor. When you finish the last page, you'll think "ok" and move on. There won't be any deep pondering or wonderings of "what if".

The characters are likeable enough, but they don't dazzle. I never felt invested in them. In fact, the insta-love made me roll my eyes a good bit. I heard that this has been optioned for a movie. I'm going to take a leap here and say it's due to the success of her other novels as movies. As far as a book made for a movie, this is not one I would choose.

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