Beachy Backlist Reviews
I wanted to read all of the books in THE ISLANDERS series this summer but… they weren’t binge-worthy. The characters weren’t so easy to relate to a lot of the time. I think I’d enjoy spreading them out a little more. I’m tossing in my review for NANTUCKET RED because I finally decided to catch up and finish this duo! I obviously needed at least one more ~summery~ book before the actual end of summer comes around!The Islanders Vol. 1 by Katherine Applegate, Michael Grant
Series: The Islanders #1
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Disney-Hyperion, Harper Collins on April 21st 2015
Format: Paperback (480 pages) • Source: Owned
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This book was legitimately exactly what I expected it to be. It reminded me right off the bat of the old books I’d read during middle school when hanging out at the library after school. I’d pull some teen drama from the 90’s off the shelf and love every dramatic minute. While I definitely loved the drama, it’s harder to stomach as an adult! In general I think books have come a looooong way since this series too.
The first two books of Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant’s beloved series about New England’s most unforgettable teens-now available in one volume!
Two years ago the tiny New England community on Chatham Island was rocked by tragedy--three teenagers had a terrible accident that left one dead. Now Lucas Cabral, the person responsible for the events on that fateful night, has returned. But life on the island isn’t the same, and everyone Lucas once considered a friend refuses to speak to him. Everyone except for Zoey Passmore. As Lucas and Zoey grow closer, Zoey risks tearing apart her close-knit group of friends if they discover the truth . . . that she’s falling for her boyfriend’s worst enemy.
Now with a stunning new package, another generation of readers will be swept away by the romance, secrets, and betrayals of this close knit group of friends.
It has its insane amount of instalove (like, literally every single couple loves each other within the first day) and love triangles (yes, multiple – these kids change partners like nobody’s business!). I can’t deny that this book feels a bit realistic in that way. These kids live on an island with a total of 300 people and they’re the only teenagers. What more do you expect? I don’t have a favorite character. They all kind of blend together and there are quite a few people involved: Zoey, Jake, Lucas, Claire, Ben, Aisha, and Nina. Damn.
I enjoyed the book throughout because I loved the setting. That’s my favorite – a sleepy island off the coast in New England? Sounds like exactly where I spent my summers as a kid! On that note though, I was weirded out that it was Chatham Island and Weymouth High School (on the mainland). These are real towns in Cape Cod, Massachusetts… but in this book, they’re in Maine. I wish she either made them in Mass or changed to fake town names so it didn’t feel confusing for a New Englander like myself.
Also, shoutout to Michelle for helping me out – she read the original series before it was republished so she was able to check on some of the pop culture references. They literally went through and edited this book to change the references to today. For example, the alarm clock went off with Taylor Swift playing. In Michelle’s older books, it was Guns & Roses! Love knowing that.
Nantucket Red by Leila Howland
Series: Nantucket #2
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 13th 2014
Also by this author: Nantucket Blue
Format: Paperback (288 pages) • Source: Owned
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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.
I loved the first book in this duo when I read it, so I’m really not sure why I waited so long to read the follow-up! I fell back into the world of these characters pretty quickly and loved being back on Nantucket with everyone. It started out a little different because it sped through Cricket’s senior year of high school before reaching summer again. I liked that aspect but definitely found myself eager to get back to the summertime.
I was nervous about this book because I obviously loved Cricket and Zack in the previous. I didn’t want there to be drama and angst about their relationship, but I knew it was coming. That’s what happens in non-standalone contemporaries! I guess overall it was handled pretty well? I’ll get into the spoilers a bit later.
Cricket was the same overreacting, jumping-to-conclusions, impulsive person she was before. She frustrated me at times but I had to keep reminding myself how I was at her age… exactly the same. It was hard to read sometimes because I knew I would have acted the same way. I knew from the very beginning of the book that the “pause” thing was a terrible idea and something bad was going to happen on one of their ends.
It really hit me when I got to the ending that this was the last I’d see of these people. I really didn’t think Cricket, Jules, and Zack would have a big impact on me like that but they really did. It was bittersweet to finish!
NOW TO THE SPOILERS. Don’t read ahead if you haven’t read THIS book in the series.
I knew Zack and her would have some kind of issue, especially when he went away for school. The break they took was moronic and I knew one of them was going to break the other’s heart somehow. I wanted to shake both of them like THIS WON’T WORK.
I did like Ben at first so it was a weird feeling, somewhat rooting for both sides of the love triangle? I wanted Zack to be endgame obviously but I had no issues with Ben and Cricket really. When they came to their inevitable end, it made sense. It was a mutual understanding that they were using each other to get over other people. They had fun and learned – the epitome of a summer romance.
Overall though, I really enjoyed these characters again. I want more honestly.