“Nantucket Blue”—A Book Review

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Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland is the most absolute perfect beach read if you are looking for something a little thought provoking. Fans of Jenny Han’s The Summer I turned Pretty trilogy are sure to love this title.

Cricket Thompson is ready to have the summer of her life in Nantucket, staying with her best friend in the world, Jules. But right before the trip, Jules’ family suffers a tragedy and Cricket finds herself uninvited to stay with them.

But Cricket is determined—determined that Jules needs her this summer more than ever, and determined that this is the summer she will make her long-time crush, Jay, hers. Thus, Cricket gets a job as a maid at an inn on the island…not quite what she had in mind, but better than stuck at home all summer babysitting a snotty kid.

The thing is, life doesn’t always go how you planned it. Jules is dealing with her own sadness and decides not to be Cricket’s friend and is pissed that Cricket showed up in Nantucket.

“It didn’t matter how good my grades were or that I’d made varsity as a freshman; it didn’t matter how carefully, how perfectly, I’d managed my popularity; it didn’t matter that I’d measured an doled out my flirtations like teaspoons of sugar—never too much to be a tease, always enough to be sweet. Jules was able to take my happiness away from me with one swift betrayal. My social life had slid from good to bad like a hockey puck across a rink. It wasn’t fair. I wanted to take her to friend court.”

Now Cricket finds herself stuck on this island for the summer, scrubbing toilets and making beds, and without a best friend. While surrounded by rich hoity-toity islanders, Cricket must learn to lead her own life and stop wishing for things that are outside of her current grasp.

 “I was wishing I were that kind of rich, the kind where people have to respect you, because that’s what money does. It makes people shut up. It means you live in the big house, throw the cool birthday parties, belong to the country club that has its own jokes, its own dances; take awesome vacations, go skiing enough to get really good at it, own the best clothes, get the green dress.”

Ultimately, this is a summer for Cricket to find herself and to find love in the most unexpected place.

“The only opinion that should matter to me was that of the girl in the mirror. For the first time it felt true. It didn’t matter what other people thought of me; it mattered what I thought of me. I’m not sure why it was at that moment that it finally sank in, except that maybe this is how wisdom works sometimes. You hear it, and some extra-smart part of your brain that you don’t even realize you have grabs it. It stays there, hidden away, until it’s needed.”

This novel kept me turning pages from the very start. I simply couldn’t put it down. Five out of five stars for this brilliant debut!

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“Twenty Boy Summer”—A Book Review

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Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler is a heart wrenchingly good summertime read.

Anna is headed to Zanzibar Bay with her best friend Frankie for the summer. The wild and daring Frankie is determined for Anna to finally have a summer romance and devises a plan that they meet and hang out with one boy each day.

Anna agrees to go along with Frankie’s crazy plan. But what she doesn’t tell her is that she’s already had a sizzling romance…with Frankie’s older brother Matt, who died a year ago. Matt promised he would tell Frankie about them, but died tragically before he had the chance. So for the past year, Anna has had to keep the dear memories of her and Matt’s steamy romance secret.

“But when you’re in the middle of being in love with someone, you just don’t stop to ask, ‘Matt, listen, if you die before you tell your sister about us, should I tell her?’”

Emotionally raw and honest, this novel deals with grief, tragedy, secrets, betrayal, family, steamy romance, and most importantly, learning how to move on and live again. I give this summer time read five out of five stars!

“The Casual Vacancy”—A Book Rant

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Just like millions of Harry Potter fans out there, I could not WAIT for J.K. Rowling’s new book, The Casual Vacancy. And let me tell you, I was totally not prepared for the complete and total letdown of this novel. Holy Balls, it was HORRIBLE!!!

 Absolutely NOTHING HAPPENS in this book! I swear there was no plot. It was merely 503 pages of boringness. And I did finish it, I swear…I kept hoping it would have a killer ending that would redeem the rest of the story, but NO, it didn’t. The ending was just as anticlimactic and lackluster as the rest of the tome.

Also, I feel like J.K. Rowling was on a mission to prove that she could do something other than “squeaky clean,” and went out of her way to use profanity and shocking sexual imagery. Some of the narrative descriptions in this volume had me crossing my legs…it was that crass and revolting. I get it J.K, you can use the “F Bomb.” Congratulations. But next time, let’s trying using it in a meaningful way to accentuate the plot and help the story to progress. Not just dropping it wherever, just because you can. (And this is coming from someone who cusses like a sailor.)

The supposed “plot” of this novel:

In the small English town of Pagford, Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly, leaving a seat open on the town’s council. This happens at the very start of the tale. The rest of the book is about several different people and families in this small town and how this open seat on the council (and the town in general) affects their lives. This story literally follows about twenty different around and basically eavesdrops on their mundane lives. That’s it. The whole story.

Besides the fact that there are way too many characters to keep up with, everyone’s life is completely dull and uneventful. Not to mention the fact that pretty much every character was an utterly horrible person. I get it; I know that most people are not inherently “good,” and everyone has skeletons in their closet, but the way this story was written, I didn’t even remotely feel anything for these characters. They were all selfish and ignorant and I wanted to punch every single one of them in the face. And I’m not a violent person. I wanted to like this book, I really did, but WOW, such an epic fail.

In an interview with BBC, 26 September 2012, News Entertainment & Arts, Rowling says, “I don’t mean this in an arrogant way but I did not sit down to write this novel thinking “got to prove”. I had nothing to prove.”

To me, this basically translates to, I’m super rich and I can write whatever the f*ck I want, because I’m J.K. F*cking Rowling and people will buy my books. Period.

 

My advice…DO NOT READ THIS BOOK! I give it one out of five stars. And that’s being generous.

 

People

“A vivid read with great, memorable characters and a truly emotional payoff….Rowling captures the humanity in everyone.”

^ All I have to say about this review is, “False.”