Reckless Girls | Review
Rating - ⭐1/2
"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."
Reckless Girls is a standalone mystery thriller novel by Rachel Hawkins.
In all honesty, I had no idea what this book was about, I just put it on hold at my library because I saw that a lot of people were reading it. That was my first mistake. My second mistake was that I tried to read The Wife Upstairs, but ended up DNFing instantly, which should have been a warning sign for me to stay away from this book. But I didn't, and here I am, writing a not-so-nice review about my experience reading this...
Nothing about this was captivating, or anything particularly good either. By the end of it, I was just mad, not only at the story but at myself for wasting my time reading this rather than giving up right away.
Let's just get right into the details.
The format of the book was a chaotic mess that did not do the story any favours. The book switches between the past and the present, and shifts between perspectives as well. It just ended up being too much, especially for a book where nothing of much substance happened.
One thing I was grateful for though is that the paragraphs were very short, so I was able to speed run my way through this.
As I said in the intro, I went into this completely blind as I had no idea what it was about. After a quick check, I thought that, despite it saying this was a gothic, I would be okay because it was an isolated mystery thriller. Boy was I wrong though because, after a prologue that was arguable the best thing about the book, the plot dropped quicker than an anchor in water.
In theory, this should have worked. You have a group of people who take a joy ride over to Meroe Island, an island named after a ship that was wrecked there and left the crew in a fight for survival (that did not end well). Again, an interesting concept that the author did not know what to do with as it was severely watered down.
By the time I hit the halfway point, nothing interesting happened... nothing. All I got were the characters wandering around, talking to each other, and acting like teenagers instead of adults. No effective atmosphere or tension to be seen which threw the whole mystery thriller premise in the water. This was just a slog of a slow burn story that suddenly kicks it into high gear at the last possible moment.
I agree with one review I read where she said that it was like the author suddenly remembered that the plot had a plot at the end, and then panicked and shoved the entire story into those 50 pages like one big colossal bloodbath. Simply not an effective use of both the premise and the allotted space.
We follow three groups of people who all ended up making the journey to the island at the same time. Lux and Nico end up chartering Brittany and Amma there, where they meet boyfriend and girlfriend Jake and Eliza, and finally the lone straggler Robbie. Not a single one of these characters did I like nor trust, which made the experience difficult because it was more character-focused than plot-focused.
While I was more or less neutral towards most of the characters, it was Lux who really ground my gears because of how she acted initially. Right off the bat, you learn that Lux has been dating Nico for six months, and it wasn't long before that that she decided to put her life on hold and follow him to Hawaii. It was painfully obvious that Nico was throwing up some red flags, that she completely and willingly ignored to my annoyance.
At one point she even said that she didn't want to know anything if it wasn't an answer she wouldn't like, and just pushed the warning signs away. I didn't want to follow a character like that (even though I still read the rest of the book).
Rachel Hawkins is just not an author for me, and it will do me well not to pick up any of her books anymore. Would I recommend this, probably not? Usually I would say that just because I didn't like it doesn't mean you won't either, but if you are looking for a book with a high-octane plot, this is definitely not it.