Saturday, December 25, 2021

NetGalley ARC | Reckless Girls

I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

First let me tell you what a snoozefest I thought The Wife Upstairs was. I did not have super high hopes for this one based on that, but was still intrigued by the premise. Luckily the publisher took a chance on me, and I fucking LOVED every second of this adventure. I blew through it in less than two hours, I could not put it down.

With a title like Reckless Girls, how can one NOT expect lots of alcohol and terrible decision-making? That's exactly what you get here. And murder. Don't forget the murder.

I consider myself pretty well-versed in thrillers; I can usually figure out where things are going, even if I don't have all the pieces, or the whys worked out. Half the fun is seeing if I am right, but I am also trying reeeeeally hard now to not think about it and just take things as they come. Otherwise I will keep spoiling books for myself forever and that's just no fun.

Lux and her boyfriend Nico are living the not-so-dream life in Hawaii. He works at a marina (despite being from A LOT of money back home) and she's on the hotel staff cleaning up after tourists who don't seem to understand they have no privacy when it comes to staff taking care of their rooms. After an incident where Lux inadvertently mocks a couple's plethora of sex toys, she finds herself jobless.

Prior to this stint in Hawaii, Lux was adrift in San Diego, waitressing after caring for her mother, who passed away from cancer in the recent past. She and Nico had met at the restaurant and after a month of him prepping his boat, The Susannah, he was ready to sail off to Hawaii and asked Lux to come with him. With nothing to tie her to California any longer, Lux agrees. Their plan is to sail the world together, finding adventure after adventure, the sea their home.

Yet six months after arriving, the couple is still in Hawaii. Nico's boat was damaged and instead of asking his father for help (his family is loaded), he and Lux are working to earn the money themselves. Things look kind of bleak, but then Nico is offered just the thing they need to get back on their feet: $50,000 to sail two college best friends to a little known island in the South Pacific. Lux encourages Nico to ask that fixing the damaged hull be part of the deal, to which the young women agree. Soon they are off on their first real adventure.

Brittany and Amma at first appear to be just another pair of twenty-somethings enjoying carefree days after college, traveling the world before settling down into the real world. That's what we are lead to believe anyway, and there is a much darker history to the friendship between the two women, which is uncovered in bits and pieces. It is unclear until the end just how much who knows of what, but the readers find out in a decent enough pace to not feel cheated.

Upon arriving at Meroe Island, the four discover someone has beaten them to this hidden paradise. Jake and Eliza welcome them warmly, and soo the six are bosom buddies. They share food and drinks, explore together, and make the most of their off-the-grid vacation. It helps that Jake and Eliza appear filthy rich, and all too happy to share.

A major strength of the book is the atmosphere created once they arrived on the island. The boats are anchored in the bay, they either swim or use dinghies to travel back and forth. This gives such an air of vulnerability, despite all the fun in the sun that they're having together. There is a constant undercurrent of tension, even when things are going well. This is due in part to the history of the island, as the narrative is interspersed with old diaries, letters, chats/emails, and such pertaining to things that happened many decades before. Stories of shipwrecks, murder, and cannibalism abound, according to the lore. At one point the island was also used as a refilling station during WWII and on a rather difficult trek through the jungle, the group discovers the old air strip. Finding an old weathered skull certainly gives credence to those aforementioned stories.

Sometimes it feels like the island is alive, that it is slowly driving each person a little closer to some kind of madness. Lux alludes to this time and time again, how she feels like she is being watched, that it feels like the island is surrounding them, the jungle creeping closer and closer to their beautiful beach.

The narrative jumps around in time; we see how Lux and Nico met, get more of Eliza and Jake's backstory, as well as what Brittany and Amma were up to before finding themselves in Hawaii and asking to charter Nico's boat. An arrival of a lone sailor Robbie, who gives off major creep vibes, disrupts the façade that all is well on their little island paradise and pretty soon everyone begins making really questionable choices.

Eventually arguments ensue. People and boats begin disappearing. One by one they start dropping dead and I truly enjoyed the conclusion. I have some questions that would be lovely to have answered, but I think that would take away from the thrill of the book. You don't always need to now HOW, just that it DID. Sit back in your beach chair, sip your Mai Tai, and enjoy.

Just don't forget the sunscreen and machete.

Highly, highly recommended.


  1. And... here's the Reckless Girls review. :)

    "island is alive" SOLD

    I hate to say this but it sounds like it has vibes similar to the Blue, which I know you didn't care for, but all this yachting and island business... and the Meroe name for the island reminds me of vague ancient civilzation connotations lol.

    1. Kind of, but also really not. I think the mystery is better done here, though there is some secret identify stuff going on like in The Blue. But it feels different here and I think a lot of that really has to do with the whole feel of the island. The atmosphere is top-notch, almost a character itself. I think you'll really like this one.

  2. I *might* have this... possibly.... Difficult to tell without going through a (large) pile of books to look... Kinda rings a bell (softly). I do have a few modern crime novels coming up for review and more planned. I've been *buying* them for ages, so it's about time I started reading them!

    1. I really liked it, and I think you will if you just go into it knowing it a thriller that is supposed to be full of surprises. Other reviewers mentioned some plot holes but I don't see any - or maybe I was not paying close enough attention? Regardless, it was fun.

  3. This will be my first review of the new year. After reading your review, I can't wait to dive in!

    1. Oh good!! I think you will like it a lot. It was fun...if revenge and murder are something you find fun, lol


Thanks for visiting my little book nook. I love talking books so leave a comment and let's chat!