Title: Nantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: May 7th, 2013
Cricket is psyched to spend the summer on Nantucket with her best friend Jules’s family. After all, she’s basically adopted them as her own. She has her heart set on sandy beaches, parties, and a whole summer to make Jay Logan her boyfriend. Then Jules’s mother dies suddenly and not only is she uninvited for the summer, but Jules doesn’t want anything to do with her at all. Cricket finds a job and goes to Nantucket anyway, hoping to save her magical summer but nothing turns out as she plans.
Let’s start with a positive. Nantucket Blue truly delivers on setting. The reader can easily imagine themselves walking along quaint beachfront streets with Cricket and digging toes in the sands of beautiful beaches.
If this book had been a straight-up romance like the cover suggests that might have been one thing, but Nantucket Blue tries to be a book about grief, growing up, and family. Sadly, it leaves us well in the shallow end of ocean so to speak. Nothing is really explored deeply enough, and that lack of development is why this book just didn’t work for me.
In Kelly’s post about unlikable characters she notes that privilege often plays a role in making characters unlikable. That is certainly the case here. The problem is not so much that Cricket is unlikable, plenty of good books have flawed heroines, but that I get the impression we aren’t supposed to hate her guts. Despite turning 18 she is selfish and immature. Cricket is more worked up about the loss of her job-free party summer than a woman she claims is like a mother to her. She outright resents her three year old stepbrother because he has emotional problems as a foreign adoption and therefore needs a lot of adult attention. This is an eighteen year old, not another young child.
The hardworking woman who actually has to clean hotel rooms for a living instead of for a beach vacation is met with derision for wanting to do a superior job. No worries though, since only rich people go to the island there is no crime there……(Wow, really? is Chappaquiddick that far from Nantucket?). These are Cricket’s bonus activities when she’s not busy fat-shaming and slut-shaming most of the other girls she pays any attention too. To be fair, near the end of the book Cricket almost catches on that this is a bad idea but like everything else it’s just no developed enough to be a satisfying change of heart.