Jillicious Reading: Beach Reads
by Leila Howland
Summary: Cricket is elated when her best friend Jules asks her to spend the summer on Nantucket with her family. Cricket adores the Claytons and is thrilled about the possibilities of the months ahead … particularly since her longtime crush Jay Logan will also be summering on the island. But an unexpected tragedy changes everyone’s plans. Cricket is still determined to spend her summer on Nantucket; but when she gets there, nothing turns out like she planned.
Thoughts: I must start by saying that I love Nantucket. The grey shingled houses, the bursting blue hydrangea, the idyllic main street, lobster rolls … it’s like a postcard come to life. I wish I could afford to summer there myself! So, I was already excited about this book just because of the setting. And, author Leila Howland does an incredible job recreating this magical place, taking the reader right to the
quaint streets and sandy shores of Nantucket.
But, I was surprised by the story. It’s a summer romance, but has a lot more depth and plot development than I expected. I fell in love with the interesting cast of characters including Cricket, her family, and the many people she meets on the island. The novel explores the challenges of friendship, family relationships, loss, and self-discovery in addition to navigating first love. I really enjoyed this book and immediately treated myself to the juicy sequel, Nantucket Red!
I recommend the book duo to anyone looking for good beach reads, hoping to be transported to a picturesque summer town, or seeking a compelling story about figuring out who you are and who you really belong with in the world.
Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend
by Katie Finn
Summary: Gemma is looking forward to the summer ahead and having time to spend with her perfect boyfriend, Teddy. But when Teddy shocks her with a sudden breakup, she is devastated. Instead of traveling across the world with him, she ends up in the Hamptons with her father. The Hamptons is an amazing destination, to be sure, but it’s also the place where Gemma must face her past and a friend she betrayed years ago. She wants to make things right; but a case of mistaken identity, an unforgettable, cute boy on the train, and the effort of keeping up a charade creates one complicated summer.
|Photo: Long Island CVB|
by her. I also liked that this story was set in the Hamptons; it sounded like the perfect book for my beach bag!
After I started, though, I wasn’t sure about the mistaken identity storyline. I don’t always like excessive hijinks. 😉 But, I did like the characters and felt the story had heart and promise. Gemma is a funny, engaging character. Nothing goes her way, and although her case is extreme, I think we can all relate to those times when things seem to be falling apart around us.
I am really glad I stuck with the novel. It’s humorous, takes an interesting turn, and leaves the reader eager for the next book in the series, Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold (which comes out next spring).
The author’s Second Chance Summer is also a summer story, but it’s a heavier drama dealing with intense loss and grief as well as finding love. Although lighter, Broken Hearts, Fences, and Others Things to Mend does explore important themes of friendship, trust, betrayal, and family relationships. I would recommend it to someone looking for a fun summer read, someone who can relate to having made mistakes and living with regrets, or someone looking for a book with humor and heart.