Nantucket Red by Leila Howland

Title: Nantucket Red
Author: Leila Howland
Series: Nantucket #2
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 13, 2014

Summary from Goodreads:
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.


When I first learned that Nantucket Red was Cricket's story of personal growth, and not a continuation of her romance with Zack, I lost a little enthusiasm to read it. I am not really sure why, since I enjoyed Nantucket Blue for more reasons than the romance, but that is why it took me so long to pick it up, despite all of the promising reviews. Until one fateful Saturday when I had no idea what to read next and so I wondered over to my bookshelf... and well, the rest is history.

I definitely regret waiting so long. I forgot how easy Leila Howland's narration is to read. I loved being back in Cricket's head while she faces some difficult questions about her future. Even though I am well past 18 and college is behind me, the changes and the doubts that she faces are relatable to me still. I enjoyed watching her try to navigate work, boys, friends and life in general as she tries to figure out what she wants for herself, and not what others expect of her. I also simply adore Cricket. She's as down-to-earth and honest as they get. And it was wonderful to be back on Nantucket, even as I freeze my butt off here in New Jersey. It's true that islands make you feel like anything is possible.

And I needed this book for closure. At the end of Nantucket Blue there were still quite a few things in Cricket's life that needed fixing, her relationship with Jules and her father to name a couple. And I am happy to say that this book works on those relationships, among other things. I think Cricket gets the ending that she deserves and readers get the ending that they've been waiting for.

So even though this book wasn't really a romance, and it was a difficult to see Zack with a wench, it had everything else to make for a great story. It wasn't the book I was originally looking for, but it ended up being the book I wanted. I highly recommend it!

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