Monday, April 22, 2013

Far Beyond the Blue...

Expected Publication:  May 7th, 2013
Nantucket Blue
By: Leila Howland
Disney Hyperion
ISBN-13:  9781423160519

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.

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.

     Cricket Thompson is looking forward to going on vacation with her best friend Jules Clayton this summer to Nantucket, meeting boys, going to parties and just having a good time.  Not to mention, she loves Jules' whole family.  So when tragedy strikes Jules' family and she shuts Cricket out of her life, Cricket has to find her own way to Nantucket for the summer.  Working harder than she ever has in her life, Cricket is also surprised by a romance she wasn't expecting with a guy that she knows it would be best to steer clear of.  Can Cricket have the summer of a lifetime, win Jules' friendship back and hang on to what may be true love?  I never really am sure what to expect from a book published by Disney Hyperion press.  This book was a very good surprise in a generally mixed basket of eggs.  As a main character Cricket is very naïve, as pointed out by other readers.  Her tendency to act like an obsessed stalker over her crush, Jay Logan, reminds me more of an 8 year old One Direction fan, rather than an 18 year old (soon to be) high school senior!  It got on my nerves, but thankfully that was FAR from being the focus of the book past the beginning part, which mainly just serves to establish how shallow her romantic feelings were - before she meets the boy that changes it all that is.  I am not going to name names as I make it a rule to avoid spoilers and give reviews vague on plot (usually, sometimes I break my rule a little bit :) but I will say it was someone I didn't peg as the love interest.  But it totally worked and was a very sweet, first love type of romance that had me smiling throughout the book. 
     Cricket and Jules' friendship was deep and ran true, which is why I was proud of Cricket every time she told herself to forgive Jules - because she understood that Jules was dealing with the death of someone extremely important by pushing her away and placing her anger on Cricket, where it had no business being.  The friendships Cricket builds while working as a maid at the inn with Gavin and Liz were wonderful.  All of the personality and sometimes surprising depth to them (mostly Liz) was wonderful.  Also, a guest at the inn by the name of George, who is writing a memoir on local politician Boaty Carmichael, hires Cricket on as his assistant and I love how she balances him out, but respects his quirks.  George treats her like an equal and an adult, which is something Cricket had been missing in her life.  The relationship between Jules and her Mom is great, with just the right balance of friend and parent being achieved.  Cricket's Mom is a strong woman and it's a fun side plot when Cricket uses her Mom's old copy of Emily Dickinson's collected works and finds her diary from her teenage years written in the margins (to hide it from her extremely nosy Aunt)! :)  Her Mom was boy crazy and kind of an insane, but in a fun way.  Cricket tries her best to uncover the identity of her Mom's summer romance, but the truth surprises her once again.  The beach setting gives something important to this book, but it doesn't monopolize it.  Even with some beautiful description and some beach scenes that move along the plot with important action, the characters are still the main focus.  Just the way I like it!  Overall this book had some extremely strong characters, an intriguing and realistic plot and a beautiful first romance that had me smiling and feeling like crying.  Leila Howland's debut is a treat to read and I'm looking forward to reading more from her in the future! 
VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars
*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This books expected publication date is May 7th, 2013.*
****Hey guys, just as a sidenote, Princess Bookie was kind enough to let me keep the ARC for this one as I was last on tour.  I will be hosting a give away with a prize pack including the book and a couple other things too that I think fit the spirit of the story.  It's been awhile since my last giveaway and I feel bad about that!  I have yet to decide for sure, but I think there will be a secondary prize as well.  So within the next couple days there will be a post, so keep your eyes peeled if you're interested! :)

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