November 19, 2014

Latest Read: Nantucket Red by Leila Howland

Nantucket Red (Nantucket #2) by Leila Howland
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased
Summary: Cricket Thompson is headed to Brown Univ., with a spot on the lacrosse team & a scholarship that covers almost everything. When she's offered the chance to earn enough cash to afford dorming, she heads back to Nantucket for the summer. But it challenges Cricket in ways she hadn't anticipated when she finds her world opening up to art, travel, and, most unexpectedly, to a future completely different from the one she has been working toward. A friendship blossoms with Ben, the gorgeous surfer who encourages Cricket to be free, even as she smarts at the pain of seeing her first love with someone else. But one night, when Cricket finally lets herself break all her own rules, she may have ruined her carefully constructed future with one impulsive decision. Cricket must fight for her future, discovering that success isn't just about reaching goals, but also about listening to her own heart. (goodreads.com)

The good
Oh Nantucket Red, how you surprised me! I had liked Nantucket Blue but I wasn’t in love with it the way I knew a lot of other people were (which put me in the minority!). But I loved this one. I think because the focus was on Cricket and the choices she was facing for her future. It was much less about running after Jules and trying to get her forgiveness or the confusing romances in her life. Those two things are still present here to a certain extent but I loved that more than anything, it was all about Cricket because I love her character. The book picks up at the end of her summer in Nantucket which I didn't expect. I don't know why I assumed there would more of a time jump but it was actually perfect. We see that Cricket and Zac are still together and in love but now school will be taking them in opposite directions — it’s her senior year and he’ll be attending a new boarding school. Rather than to try to make a long distance relationship work, they decide to just see what happens. At first I didn't understand this decision but it really set the stage for the book and for Cricket to come into her own.

The beginning of the book understandably flies through her senior year but it establishes one very important thing - Cricket got accepted into Brown University. She even has a spot on their lacrosse team and a partial scholarship. Which is why she finds herself back at Nantucket during the summer to save money to cover the rest of her tuition. And it's this summer, more so than the last, that really opens her eyes. Plus, it helps that she's not as lost this time around. She already has a friend in Liz who is now running the inn and she's set on her goal to earn money. But along the way, Cricket starts learning about art and travel, takes chances on new experiences and meets new people (like Ben, the cute bartender at her new job). It makes her re-evaluate what her dreams really are and I feel like that constantly evolves and changes as you get older. I admired how Cricket made tough choices in order to figure out what makes her happy. The way the author explored Cricket's growth, internal conflict over what path to take and just overall wonder about the future was so realistic.

If I had to choose one word to describe this book, realistic would be it. Jules ends up becoming a part of Cricket's life again and how that came together resonated with me a lot. Especially those moments where it's easy to slip into the old habits of friendship but at the same time, recognizing the changes and accepting them. The ups and downs rang true and I understood Jules more this time around. Even Zac and Ben. Still two guys but again this time, they felt more true. First loves don't always mean happily-ever-afters and I liked that Zac and Cricket spent some time part. And I liked that someone like Ben, who was great, showed Cricket another side of relationships.

(No) reservations
I think it could've been a little longer (especially towards the end) but I really enjoyed this one.

Do I recommend?
I do! If you were skeptical about Nantucket Blue like I was, don't let that stop you. Definitely check out Nantucket Red.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed Nantucket Red too! I liked it for the same reason you did, and that's the fact that it focused more on Cricket and her own journey in the summer before college. It was really fun to return to Nantucket, and I enjoyed seeing characters I knew and meeting the ones I didn't.

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