Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
Publication Date: January 4th 2022 by St.Martin's Press & Macmillan Audio
Audio Book Length: 7 hrs 43 min
Narrator: Barrie Kreinik
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Libro.fm | Audible | Goodreads
Lux McAllister followed her boyfriend, Nico, to Maui in what she thought would be an adventure of a lifetime, sailing around all the little islands of the South Pacific. Only to find out when she gets there Nico’s boat has been damaged and they need to make money to save and repair it. Instead of living carefree sailing from island to island, Lux is now scrubbing hotel toilets while Nico works fixing boats and taking out charters. That’s until Nico is asked to sail two college girls, Amma and Brittany, to the island of Meroe, giving them enough money to repair their boat and begin their journey.
The island of Meroe has a disturbing past, a shipwreck that led to starvation and rumors of cannibalism, but now is supposed to be an uninhabited paradise, secluded and beautiful. However, they find they’re not the only travelers when they pull up to the island and soon their group of four turns into six, with Jake and Eliza, an attractive couple with a beautiful boat. They spend lazy days on the beach and dinners together and it all seems to be working out until another boat shows up.
While a lot of the characters were unlikeable, I was rooting for the main heroine/narrator, Lux. She wasn’t perfect either, but there was something relatable and compelling about her. She grabbed onto an escape, depressed after caring for her sick mother and then finally losing her. Unfortunately, Lux ended up led around by a self-absorbed man-boy. While at first, they were happy and in love, putting a relationship to the test in a stressful situation, like the one they were in, reveals whether it can go the distance or not. It wasn’t hard to see the writing on the wall with Nico, or with the entire “perfect paradise” situation.
There were flashes back to the past, giving glimpses into each of the character’s history, and it was soon apparent things were not as they seemed.
Reckless Girls turned out to be an addictive read, one I didn’t want to put down! It reminded me of a couple of my favorite movies: Dead Calm and A Perfect Getaway. I got a similar sinister vibe while reading/listening and I was on the edge of my seat wondering how everything would play out. I’ve read several of Rachel Hawkins YA books in the past, and then her foray into Adult Thrillers with The Wife Upstairs last year, which was entertaining but had a disappointing ending, IMO. I liked Reckless Girls quite a bit more.
I alternately read and listened to the story, and I’m happy I had the audio version, as well. Barrie Kreinik’s performance brought the characters to life in a way that wouldn’t have happened with just traditional reading alone. Her accents were spot on!
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set on an isolated Pacific island with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.
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.