This book review is part of our then and now series, where we revisit books that we enjoyed in the past.
Nantucket Summer is a collection, which includes Nantucket Blue and Nantucket Red, by Leila Howland. We first read this duology in the summer of 2017 and haven’t read it since. We were in the mood for a cute romance set near the beach, thus we chose a collection set on Nantucket.
If you’re looking for a fun in the sun romantic end of summer read, check out Nantucket Summer. It makes us want to visit ASAP.
Cricket Thompson is ecstatic when the Clayton family invites her to spend summer on Nantucket with them. But when tragedy strikes, the Clayton’s need their alone time. Cricket just wants to be there for her best friend Jules, so she decides to go to Nantucket anyway. When she finds a job as a maid at an inn, where she can also live, Cricket can’t wait to tell Jules.
But Jules is less than thrilled. Everything seems to have changed in a few weeks. Her best friend has a new circle, including mean girl Parker Carmichael and Cricket is lonelier than ever. But drifting away from Jules opened up Cricket’s world: she made new friends, she landed an internship with a writer and she started a fling with Zack Clayton, Jules’s younger brother.
A summer on a beautiful island with minimal supervision is bound to be interesting. Nantucket Blue challenges Cricket in ways she never imagined, but it brought a lot of great people into her life.
Fast forward a year for Nantucket Red. Cricket graduated high school and got into Brown University in Providence Rhode Island. But when Cricket’s step grandparents learn that Cricket is living at home for college to save money, they make her an offer: if she can earn a certain amount of money over the summer, they will match it. The only way to make enough money is to head back to Nantucket. But a lot has changed since last summer and going back won’t be easy.
Nantucket Red is like coming full circle with Cricket. While she became independent last summer, this summer she learned about what she wanted for her future. It’s another adventure full of romance, friendship and new opportunities, but it’s never easy. When Brown University almost falls through the cracks, Cricket doesn’t know if the school she dreamed about for years is her path anymore.
We knew we enjoyed this duology a lot, but we forgot most of the details. Mainly, we remembered how much fun a summer on Nantucket sounds.
When starting Nantucket Blue, some things came back to us right away, like how much we enjoyed Cricket’s personal growth and how much Jules annoyed us.
We also remembered a cute summer romance, that had some complexities once we got to Nantucket Red. While we sometimes wanted to scream at Cricket and Zack to communicate better, we totally shipped them together from the beginning.
Lastly, we knew that we liked the duology overall and felt satisfied with the ending. However, to understand our rating from years ago, it required us to reread the collection. It didn’t take us long to get immersed in the story.
Reading this book while lounging on beach is really great idea. It helped set a lot of the scenes.
First, Cricket is a great character. She starts off being naïve and a little too attached to the Clayton family. We can’t blame her because after her own parents divorced, the Claytons were her escape.
Getting away from Jules, who provided too much of Cricket’s self-esteem, ended up being for the best. Now Jules was the worst. We get that she experienced a tragedy, but she treated everyone around her horribly. Instead of humiliating and lying to Cricket, she could have said she just needed alone time to move on.
The side characters helped with Cricket’s personal growth, especially Liz. Liz is British, spunky and not afraid to be herself. She pushes Cricket to get out there and make a summer full of memories. This helps lead Cricket to Zack, the unexpected summer romance.
Zack is a total sweetheart and plans romantic dates all around the island. Too bad Zack is Jules’s younger brother and totally off limits. But for once, Cricket has to focus on herself more than Jules. The relationship did become overly complicated at time though and we don’t agree with what Cricket did at the beginning of Nantucket Red. It literally made no sense to us. But I guess it was necessary for the drama to unfold during the second summer.
While we enjoyed Nantucket Blue more overall, we really appreciated how the series ended. We completely forgot what Cricket decided to do and while it was risky, it did give Cricket the life she dreamed of having. The moral of the story: keep an open mind, you never know what’s right around the corner.
⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ both then and now. Nantucket Summer makes us sad that’s summer is almost over. It’s a perfect read for those who want their beach reads to also have substance.