Primary Genre(s): Thriller, Suspense
Published: 4 Jan 2022 by St. Martin’s Press
Page count: 320 (print)
My Format: ebook
Do I Recommend: Maybe
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy Reckless Girls
My rating: ★★★☆☆
When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.
Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.
But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge. It seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.
When it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive.
I enjoy a good thriller and this synopsis had me hooked. Here are my pros and cons for Reckless Girls:
- The atmosphere of the island, island life, and the camaraderie between well-to-do twenty-somethings was well done. I would never describe myself as a beach bum (I can’t stand having sand on me in every nook and cranny) but I felt like I was on an interesting deserted island experience.
- The island itself was set up to be a “character” in the novel and that is probably what intrigued me the most about the story… however, (see Con #2).
- There was a lot of tension! A lot of things were happening between the characters and, as the synopsis unfortunately tells you, some of them go missing and turn up dead. I was definitely invested in figuring out what in the world was going on!
- I appreciated that there was a plausible reason provided for why they had no communication with the outside world. One of my biggest pet peeves in thrillers is when authors seem to forget that we live in the world of cell phones and constant connectedness!
- I like the way Hawkins writes. It is very easy to read her stories and they are immediately captivating.
- The synopsis, while not wrong, is a bit misleading in my opinion. It personally made me think I was getting more than I actually got.
- The island is set up to be this remote and mysterious place that has a history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and murder. People apparently go crazy there if they stay too long. There is an aura of supernatural attached to the island, but alas (yes, I used “alas” because you need to picture me swooning from sheer disappointment)… that entire potential plot line completely disappeared from the story.
- There was not enough character development for anyone in my opinion. Amma was particularly underdeveloped for me. I have no idea why she did the things she did either in her past or in the present on the island. It honestly felt like she was simply a plot device to move the story along in a certain direction. I wasn’t invested because I didn’t know what her motivations were at all.
- The ending! UGH! The author ended this book in a way that introduced plot holes for me! I already felt like I didn’t know the characters well enough, but when I got to the ending I KNEW I didn’t know nearly enough about any of them at all! I’m all for a shocking reveal, but I really dislike it when a book suddenly goes off the rails just to finish the story! It was a messy and downright absurd ending.
Despite my cons, I still generally enjoyed this book (although I have to admit the ending dropped it a full star for me). I felt similarly about Hawkin’s previous book The Wife Upstairs. Both were interesting enough for me to finish, but neither had enough substance overall.
I believe I am in the minority by not gushing over this story, but this is my honest opinion. If you are at all interested in this book, I absolutely encourage you to read it. Your opinion may be very different from mine.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an electronic ARC, which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy Reckless Girls. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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