Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Without giving any spoilers away, as always, we will be discussing a thriller called Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins. If the author’s name sounds familiar, it should! I reviewed her book, The Wife Upstairs, a few weeks ago and I am very impressed with her work. Before we get started, I will be placing a trigger warning on Reckless Girls for general violence and trauma. Now, let’s get to it:
After a series of unfortunate events in Lux’s life, she finds herself at a crossroads and moves to Maui with her boyfriend, Nico, on a whim. They have grand plans of adventures on the open seas in Nico’s boat, just the two of them traveling the world and making incredible memories. Money, however, is tight and their dream seems farther away than what they originally thought.
Luckily, a big opportunity comes Nico’s way to sail two college friends, Amma and Brittany, to the deserted Meroe Island for a huge pay day. They insist on Lux coming too and, despite initial feelings of hesitance, she agrees and they set sail. Meroe Island has a troubling history of people stranded there and resorting to cannibalism to save themselves. But that was so long ago and it will be an experience of a lifetime, right?
Upon arriving at the island after a long sail, the group is surprised to find another boat already there. Jake and Eliza, the owners, become fast friends and the first few days on their own private paradise is filled with bonfires, drinks, and good food. Lux finds herself feeling happy for the first time in ages but there’s just something about Brittany’s friend, Amma, that seems a little off.
Lux is able to push past the awkward tension with Amma and is settling into island life just fine until a newcomer, Robbie, harbors at the island. Instantly disliked, Robbie is a definite outsider and flees into the dense island jungle after Lux finds him snooping around Jake and Eliza’s boat. Then, things take a turn for the worst.
After being shamed by the new little family, Robbie decides to seek his revenge and destroys the radios on each boat – making it impossible to leave the island until a back up one arrives on a passing ship over a week later. Stranded until they can set sail again, the island starts to work its strange magic and begins turning the tight knit group against each other.
As people turn up missing and bodies are found, Lux realizes she’s not in paradise at all but a prison. The people who she felt so close to end up feeling like strangers and the only thing she has on her mind now is survival. However, some people on the island aren’t strangers to each other after all and one devastating plan puts everyone in jeopardy. Will anyone live to tell their tale of Meroe Island? Read Reckless Girls to find out!
Although I liked Rachel Hawkins’ The Wife Upstairs just a little bit more than Reckless Girls, I still thought that this was a great read. Maybe because I figured out the main and several minor plot twists prior to its end and didn’t see the final plot twist in The Wife Upstairs coming at all. Reckless Girls was a lot of fun, though, and I finished the fast paced read in just three sittings. I felt disappointed every time I had to close it, making it a definite unputdownable book.
While Reckless Girls, at its core, is a classic whodoneit, it felt unique because of the creepy island setting. When things began to take a downward turn, you could literally feel Meroe Island closing in, creating a claustrophobic, paranoid vibe. Thanks to the insight provided by stories of each character’s past, it felt like danger was lurking around every corner, which made this read even more gripping.
I also really enjoyed Lux as a main character. She was strong and determined which was a nice change of pace from the main character in The Wife Upstairs who was very meek and plain. Lux was so easy to root for because of such a relatable past. I am partial to alternating narrators in a book but, for once, I didn’t mind hearing everything from Lux’s perspective so that’s really saying something!
I am going to award Reckless Girls with an eight out of ten star rating. My main qualm was the predictability of this book and I would have enjoyed to have a jaw dropping moment that I didn’t see coming from a mile away. It is still worth a read, though, and I recommend giving it a try.
What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah