Book Tour: Nantucket Red Review + Info

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Title: Nantucket Red
Author: Leila Howland

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Hardcover: 288 pages
Rating: 4/5 stars
  
BOOK DESCRIPTION:
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.
 Displaying nantucketredblitz.png

DISCLAIMER: I read and reviewed this book not knowing it is a sequel and not having read Nantucket Blue.

I fell in love with Nantucket Red the more and more I delved into it. I completely enjoyed reading this book and finished it in just one siting. Its story revolves around our protagonist Cricket Thompson, a hardworking perfectionist overachiever who is spending the summer in Nantucket to save enough money for Brown. Along the way, she encounters all sorts of people and experiences that will change her life into something less perfect but something unexpectedly happier. 

This book was absolutely perfect for me. It was the best summer read and one of the most relatable books I've ever read. Cricket's narrative was so honest, so real and I saw myself in her plenty of times. The thirst for something more, for adventure and thrill, and the endless possibilities of summer all stretched out ahead of you is something I am not unfamiliar with, and I wanted so badly to be in Nantucket with Cricket and to go to all those wonderful places. I wanted to learn how to drive stick, to get drunk with my best friend, to go skinny dipping and to see the stars on top of a hill. It was already an amazing experience living out all of these through a character and I wonder now what it would feel like to actually do all those things for real.

Despite being full of adventure, Nantucket Red is first and foremost a character story, and I loved the development carefully woven into each character especially Cricket. I loved how driven Cricket is. I loved how hard she works for the things she wants and I loved how she is not afraid to make certain choices. I loved how she discovers herself in that summer and how she turns out into a mature and independent person in the end. Apart from Cricket, I was also enchanted to meet Liz, her posh British friend who lets Cricket stay in her place for the summer, and Jules, her best friend who always sticks with her no matter what rocky situation they've been through. I loved Cricket's parents as well, her mom and dad who are one of the kindest parents ever. I loved how complicated the numerous relationships in the story played out. 

In the story we meet two probable love interests for Cricket: Zach, her first boyfriend and first love, and Ben, the cute bartender Guitar Guy Cricket meets in Nantucket. Unfortunately, I hardly cared about both of them and actually preferred Cricket to not end up with any of them at all. It was funny because both Zach and Ben were such flat characters for me as opposed to the others who were such great, relatable, and well rounded characters. I didn't understand their relationships to Cricket as well. Interaction between Cricket and Zach only composed about 15% of the book and towards the end I realized that I knew nothing about Zach (but that is also probably because I haven't read Nantucket Blue). Ben is more in the book but I never found out that much about who he is except that he is a nice guy that has a lot of man pain. They were both okay, they didn't annoy or bother me, but I also didn't swoon over any of them.

Apart from this, the only other thing about the book that I didn't like is how there were a lot of brand mentions. I felt like it was unnecessary to mention certain brands, as for me it times the book. It makes the book only relevant during this time period when this certain brand is famous. Do you know the feeling when you're watching a show or movie and there's a lot of ad placements? That's what I felt like reading this book.

Overall, I was impressed with this book. When I read it I didn't even know that it was supposed to be a sequel. I never got confused with the story and it really does work as a standalone as well. Nantucket Red was a fun fresh read that gave me more insight into life. I loved the feeling I had while reading this book; it was the wonderful combined feeling of having your toes in the sand, the sun in your face, lying on a bed of grass, shouting from a cliff, and running around a field in the rain. It was peaceful but nice, calm but adventurous, and just downright wonderful.

Displaying LeilaHowland.jpgABOUT 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.

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