Thursday, May 16, 2013

Blog Tour & Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Today, we are joining Itching for Books for the Nantucket Blue Blog Tour. For our stop, we have a review and book excerpt of this debut novel by Leila Howland. Enjoy!

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble
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.
My Thoughts
Leila Howland’s debut novel Nantucket Blue is a perfect summer read that will likely be a hit for YA contemporary readers and fans of such author as Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins. I enjoyed this light and full-of-heart story that was filled with lifelong experiences and lasting friendships. Having read it from cover to cover in two short days, it was clearly a book that resonated with my taste because of the relatable characters and solid writing.

Cricket Thompson is a star athlete on the lacrosse team for Rosewood School for Girls. She’s done a great job of staying in the safe zone of the social ladder by working hard, making conservative moves, and not calling negative attention to herself. Everyone knows the perils of high school where one mistake can be your demise. So when school lets out and the opportunity to spend the summer in Nantucket slips through her fingers after tragedy strikes her best friend’s family, she take matters into her owns hands and lands a job cleaning rooms in a Nantucket Hotel as a means for making her way to this perfect summer hot spot. While in Nantucket, Cricket makes a few mistakes that jeopardize some of her friendships and threatens to taint her reputation. Realizing that the perfect Nantucket summer is not quite her reality, she must face her mistakes and make the most of her experience.

Overall I have to say that I really came to like Cricket. I admired her tenacity of taking matters into her own hands and not letting opportunities pass her by. She made some harsh mistakes, but overall, I admired how she handled herself throughout the book. There were some unresolved issues where her father was concerned and a small part of me wanted to see some closure or resolution there. However, I feel Howland handled this part of the story perfectly because it showed that you can’t resolve everything in a few short summer months.

I also enjoyed the Emily Dickenson journal entries that Cricket’s mom wrote in the book. Those were hilarious!! It really shared a whole other side of Cricket’s mom, which I loved. I just can’t imagine reading about my mom’s crushes and firsts. I would absolutely crawl into my own skin, so to experience that vicariously through Cricket was both funny as hell and cringe-worthy in the best way possible.

As far as the romance of the book, I enjoyed it because it was steady and believable. What made it heartfelt was whom Cricket ended up falling for, which was the highly unlikely choice but in the end proved to be a perfect match for her. Zack complimented Cricket’s character in the best way possible. I loved his character a ton. I appreciated how he handled his “forbidden” relationship with Cricket being the younger brother of her best friend. I rooted them on from the beginning and I applauded the way they handled their relationship. Zack was extremely mature for his age, and it clearly showed with how he handled the tragedy that occurred in his family. I wanted their relationship to work out because there was a strong sense of friendship holding it together. Well done!

Cricket’s best friend Jules really surprised me. I wanted to excuse her awful behavior toward Cricket based on the fact that the girl lost her mom, but no. In the end, I concluded that Jules was just downright mean and vicious. It got to a point where I wanted Cricket to accept the fact that she needed to move on where her bestie was concerned. Jules did not deserve the friendship that Cricket so badly wanted to offer. Walking away was the best option and I wanted Cricket to come to terms with that.

Overall, this is a book about friendship, family and hard life lessons. It shares insight into growing up and learning to cope with your mistakes all the while trying to handle them with grace. With a wonderful Nantucket backdrop, Howland’s debut novel is a perfect summer read.
4 Snowflakes
Book Excerpt
Jay thought I'd led him on. Parker thought I was desperate for going out with a sophomore. Jules thought I was a bad friend. And worst of all, Zack thought I betrayed him. I could already hear the names: Tease. Bitch. Slut. All the words designed to make girls feel bad and small. All the words I'd worked so hard to avoid could now be stuck to me like a name tag. I would have to bear them with quiet dignity...

About the Author
LEILA HOWLAND loves to read, explore L.A., and engage in funny and meaningful conversations with her friends and family, especially her brother who calls from Washington D.C. whenever he’s waiting for the bus. A lot gets discussed in those phone calls, but they tend to end abruptly when the bus shows up. She can really cut the rug, but wishes she could sing without people covering their ears. A graduate of Georgetown University, Leila spent five years acting in New York where she was a company member of the award-winning Flea Theater in Tribeca. It was a lot of fun and she often talks about “getting back into it.” The closest she has come was a stint as an extra on The Young and the Restless in 2010. Leila now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two dogs. She teaches high school English and blogs for HelloGiggles. NANTUCKET BLUE is her first novel.


  1. This was such a good book. I completely agree about Jules, I understood the pain but certainly not the way she treated Cricket. Cricket was great though. Wonderful review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  2. Great review. Cool excerpt. Thanks for participating!

  3. I'm a little wary of the "mean girl" aspect of this one. It just frustrates me to know end when girls are so viscious. But the rest sounds interesting. Great review.

    YA Sisterhood

  4. This one actually sounds way better than I thought it would! Maybe I'll have to summer read this one! Great review!

  5. I enjoyed this one, too. I loved the secondary characters at the inn. I thought the journal entries were funny and agree that the relationship with her father was frustrating, but realistic. I loved Zack and their relationship. I have a different view of Jules, but can understand your point. Great review!
    -Natalie @Natflix&Books