Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: Nantucket Red by Leila Howland

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.


My Review:

I really enjoyed Nantucket Blue when I read last year, and this sequel to it was just as amazing.  I really liked the characters in this, and the development that they experienced throughout Nantucket Red.  I think this is the last book in the series, though I would definitely read another if there is another one after this.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

At the beginning of this book, Cricket gets her acceptance to Brown University.  Brown is in her town, so she can live at home and commute there, since the dorms are so expensive.  That is her plan, until her step-grandparents say that if she makes money this summer they will match what she makes to help her pay for the dorms.  They think it is an important part of the college experience.  So Cricket decides that, to make enough money, she needs to go back to Nantucket and find a summer job there.  She grows a lot over the course of the story, especially when she makes a stupid mistake that comes close to jeopardizing her future.  She also learns a lot about what she really wants to do in the fall, and if Brown is really what she wants or not.

There is some sweet romance in this book.  Cricket and Zack, despite having said that they were in love, decided to put their relationship on pause so they wouldn't have to do long distance while she was at school at home, and he was at a boarding school.  Unfortunately for Cricket, pausing didn't work for Zack, and he moved on to a new relationship, with someone Cricket really dislikes.  When Cricket goes to Nantucket, she meets another guy, Ben, who is the bartender at the restaurant where she works, and she starts a relationship with him.  The question is, are any of them actually over their exes?  Zack is in Nantucket that summer too, and maybe he isn't really over Cricket.  And Cricket hasn't really gotten over him yet either.

The development with the friendships in this book is great.  Liz is awesome as always, and she is there to help Cricket, and to give her a room to stay in when she needs it.  Liz goes through some tough times of her in the book, and Cricket is there to be supportive of her when this happens.  I didn't really like Jules in the first book, since she shut Cricket out when all Cricket wanted to do was to be there to be supportive of her.  She had been going through a tough time in the first book, though, and she is much better in this sequel, so it helped to redeem her.  She is a good friend to Cricket in this book, and they spend some time having fun in Nantucket, when Cricket isn't busy working.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.

Katie

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