Review of Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
This fast-paced suspense read is the ultimate "trouble in paradise" story, with twist and turns that kept me hooked throughout the drunken excess of the largely self-obsessed characters.
In Reckless Girls, the newest novel by Rachel Hawkins, Lux is a frustrated young woman who's just done what she said she never would: she followed a boy.
But to be fair, she's emerging from a fog of trauma after her mother's death, her father has abandoned her, and she dropped out of college to take care of her mom when she was sick, so Lux is drifting. And Nico is handsome, charming, adoring of Lux--and he promised adventure and new-found freedom that she can't resist.
But the couple's grand plans to sail the world have come to a standstill. Nico's boat is damaged, and he and Lux are working menial jobs in Hawaii so they can get it repaired and get on their way.
When a wealthy pair of recent college graduates show up and offer to pay for the boat's repairs and want to hire Lux and Nico to take them to a remote atoll for a couple of weeks, Nico is sure their troubles are behind them.
But Lux has a bad sense about all of this, and while the reader has the benefit of flashes forward in time to intense danger, Lux herself can't figure out why she's feeling so hesitant to go on a trip to a remote paradise.
Reckless Girls swirls around issues of money, class, misogyny, anger, suspicion, revenge, dashed hopes, a desire for adventure, people aren’t who they seem to be, mercenary impulses, and, ultimately, the survival of the fiercest. Characters repeatedly make ill-advised choices and largely stay in drunken, sunburned fogs of excess and denial, and they do it all against a luxurious, eerie backdrop of the ultimate deserted island setting.
The point of view shifts between first person and third person and the storytelling switches from past to present, and both of these structural decisions allow for interesting manipulations of accounts of events and of identities. I'm not sure how the details work with the ending and identities and a certain boat, and I didn't feel particularly emotionally connected to the characters, but I was more than willing to roll with whatever Hawkins was laying out for readers in the fast-paced, entertaining suspense story Reckless Girls.
I received an advance digital edition of this book--which was published yesterday--courtesy of NetGalley and St. Martin's Press.
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Rachel Hawkins is also the author of The Wife Upstairs--another solid suspense read with magnetic twists and turns--as well as the Hex Hall, Rebel Belle, and Royals series.