**Warning! If you haven’t read Nantucket Blue which is the first book in the duology by Leila Howland, there will be spoilers ahead. You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**
It took me WAY too long to read the conclusion to Leila Howland’s Nantucket Blue series after having loved the first book as much as I did but it wasn’t completely my fault! If I had been able to find my copy of Nantucket Red I would’ve read it sooner but despite labeling all of the 20+ boxes of books I packed, it was nowhere to be found until I went through every last box on a mission to find it (of course it was at the bottom on the last box). I didn’t realize how much I needed more Cricket, Zack and Jules in my reading life until I dove back in and let me tell you, it was a blissful experience.
The second book picks up at the beginning of the school year after Cricket and Zack decide that the long distance thing is not for them. Instead, they choose to “pause” their relationship while they figure things out but after an unfortunate phone call which Zack misinterprets, he ends up dating the awful girl Parker who Jules had ditched Cricket for in Nantucket Blue. While it was so great to see Jules and Cricket back as besties, it hurt my heart every time I would read about Zack with Parker. Cricket is such a driven and exceptional teen and I love being in her head. I wish Leila Howland would write more stories with these characters because I honestly love them and I want them to succeed in everything they do. Even though we got a fantastic epilogue, I could see so much more happening for them.
In Nantucket Red, Leila Howland expanded upon everything I loved about Nantucket Blue. Being back in the familiar Nantucket setting felt like spending my own second summer there on the beach surrounded by preppy people in pastel colors. While last summer dealt with handling difficult emotions and finding love, this summer was much more of a personal journey for Cricket. She’s all set with her Ivy league college plans but after finding a special list, she begins to question what it is she truly desires and what path she needs to take in the future.
Final Thoughts: Nantucket Red is the delightful conclusion to Leila Howland’s Nantucket Blue series. If you’re looking for an engaging beach read Nantucket Blue and Nantucket Red would be the first books I would suggest. My only complaint is that there aren’t anymore Nantucket books to read because I’m head over heels for this little summer paradise as well as the main characters.
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. (via Goodreads)