ARC Review | Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
Narrated by: Barrie Kreinik
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2022
ARC from St. Martin’s Press
ALC from MacMillan Audio

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.

| Book Review |

After reading and loving The Woman Upstairs last year, I knew I’d be picking up Rachel Hawkins next Mystery/Thriller release. Reckless Girls follows a woman named Lux, who realizes she’s been aimlessly wandering through life when she accompanies her boyfriend, Nico, on a trip guiding two other young women to the deserted island of Meroe in Hawaii. When they first arrive, the island is just the paradise they’ve been hoping for. That all changes when, as the blurb states, they start being picked off one by one with no way to call for help, and chaos ensues.

This story started off strong; Lux was finally getting a taste of her dream to travel, and even though it felt like she was tagging along, she was having the time of her life. The characters were interesting – I loved Lux’s history and there was a lot of mystery surrounding Brittany and Amma. We were discovering some of their secrets with the past interspersed throughout the story, and we were also learning more as Lux did. I also liked Nico’s character and found his choice to give up his family fortune to be intriguing. But this is where the good ended for me. There was a huge missed opportunity with the whole island of Meroe. We were given a few snippets of fictional book passages regarding ghost stories on the island, but that’s it. There was no attempt at atmosphere building, and something comparable to the aura in Lock Every Door by Riley Sager or The Turn of the Key from Ruth Ware could have really elevated this story. There really were no thrills here, and I found parts of the story to be predictable. As for the ending, I found that lacking as well as disconcerting. (Highlight for spoilers.) I find this trend of women who simply cannot move on without murdering or exacting revenge to be incredibly disconcerting. There is nothing empowering about staying steeped in anger. I’m not saying people can immediately move on; it’s a process. But there is strength in moving on or trying to, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes. Show me a woman who has that kind of gumption, and I’ll have tremendous amounts of respect for her. Aside from that, there were a whole host of mental issues that cropped up at the end, making it seem as if all of the women in this story were unstable. It was disappointing to say the least.

Overall I found the end to be incredibly unsatisfying. It took a solid four star read down to a star and a half, and it painted women in a terrible light. I’m sad to say that I would not recommend Reckless Girls.

| Story Rating |

| Audiobook Review |

I have listened to Barrie Kreinik’s narration before and really enjoyed it. Reckless Girls was no exception. The narrator had a good grasp of the characters; intonation was spot on, and quite frankly, the narration was the highlight of the book for me.

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