Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Seventeen-year-old Cricket Thompson can’t wait for summer. Her best friend Jules has just invited her to spend the entire summer with her and her family at their lovely beach house on Nantucket Island.

Cricket has heard only wonderful summer stories about Nantucket from Jules. She can almost feel the sand beneath her feet, the heat on her skin and the smell of the ocean. She can even see the blush that will form on her cheeks when her first kiss with Jay Logan, crush since forever, finally happens. She can’t wait to spend her hard-earned summer job money on sundresses, ice cream cones and delicious meals with a seafront view.

But a terrible tragedy strikes Jules’ family, leaving all of them reeling from the shock and the loss. All of a sudden, the Nantucket summer Cricket has been dreaming about just seems so small and unimportant.

Jules takes back her invitation to spend the summer with them. It stings to be an outsider, but Cricket takes it in stride and decides to be the best friend of the year. She accepts a babysitting job on the island, just to be near Jules, in case she needed her.

But Jules has become distant, snappish and bored around her, wants nothing to do with her, and spends her time with her other friends. Worse, Cricket’s babysitting job, which was supposed to pay $800 a week, fell through, and Cricket finds herself cleaning toilets and changing bedsheets for a local inn, while “interning” for a journalist on crutches who’s writing a book about a dead politician.

It’s a summer like nothing Cricket has imagined. She’s grieving for a great woman and friend that she lost so suddenly. She’s missing her best friend and has no idea what went wrong. She’s falling in love with a guy who is off limits. And she’s finally feeling the sadness and isolation caused by her parents’ divorce. Cricket didn’t think it was possible, but she just wishes for summer to be over so she can go back home and leave everything behind in Nantucket.

This book was such a nice surprise. It’s the perfect beach read! Short, sweet, light and funny, with just the right amount of drama and romance. It’s young without being silly or frivolous, and Cricket Thompson is just the kind of girl you want to be besties with if you were seventeen. The storytelling provides such a delightful look into Cricket’s busy, colorful and messy life, and one book just isn’t enough. Excited to read the sequel!

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