CONTAINS SPOILERS ABOUT THE FIRST BOOK, NANTUCKET BLUE
Cricket Thompson is starting her senior year after her summer on Nantucket with a mixed bag of expectations. On the one hand, she is in love. On the other, she is in love with her former best friend’s little brother Zack and now her best friend won’t really talk to her. And Zack has just announced his plans to go to boarding school in order to escape his father and sister who are still grief stricken and listless after the sudden and unexpected death of their mother last spring. Cricket and Zack decide to put their relationship “on hold” for the school year, but that devolves pretty quickly into who knows what and Cricket knows that they’ve broken up and nobody is saying so.
Within the first few chapters, Howland wraps up the school year and then it is summer once again. Cricket still hasn’t seen Zack and her relationship with his sister Jules is on the mend, something she doesn’t want to jeopardize. When she graduates high school, ivy league bound, her stepmother’s parents offer her the opportunity to live in the dorms by paying half if she can come up with the other half by the end of the summer. Cricket knows that her only method of earning that much money is to return to Nantucket once again, where it has been confirmed that Zack has a new girlfriend.
Less than thrilled by the prospect, Cricket nonetheless embarks on another summer of change and growth. Reconnecting with island friends and making more as she goes, including a new boy, Cricket begins to open up to new experiences. As she works her tail off to earn her ticket to the true college experience, she simultaneously begins to doubt her plans for the future.
This book raises important questions about school, life, and how we make decisions. Every high schooler knows that self doubt and anxiety plague the college admissions process. Cricket’s will power, and her willingness to follow her heart, make Nantucket Red a reassuring tale about things turn out well in the end.
Genre: Realistic fiction
Key words: summer, college, future, decisions
Best Quote: “Maybe what couldn’t be named was just as real as what could be. Maybe sometimes love existed in the spaces in between.”