Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

Posted On 13 January 2022

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My Five Word TL:DR Review : Idyllic island is anything but.


Okay, there are two sides to this review because whilst I enjoyed this in a number of respects there are other issues, I think primarily where I misled myself, that prevented me from absolutely loving it.  In fact that’s not totally true, I think on reflection I was really enjoying this until certain events occurred that stopped me in my tracks.  I also really think I was expecting something different, perhaps something a bit more sinister – and I had no reason to have such expectations other than my own overactive imagination.

I think for this post I’m not really going to discuss the plot much other than to say that a group of relative strangers head off to a remote paradise for an adventure.  Unfortunately, not everyone is being totally honest and before you can crack open a coconut things are going very wrong.

What I really liked about this.  There’s a lovely sense of tension almost from the get go.  You know something is going to go wrong and that suspense and uncertainty about what form this potential mishap – or, lets face it, disaster – will take is enticing.  So, even though the build up is slow in some respects it allows you to get a feel for the characters all the while knowing that something is lurking.  I really think Hawkins manages to prod you into that ‘I got a bad feeling about this’ state of mind.

The setting is great.  I mean it feels strange to call it a ‘locked room’ mystery because this is an island but the description works because basically it’s self contained.  No escape!  The island is mysterious.  It has a history that makes it both intriguing and macabre.  In one respect it’s a paradise with idyllic coves, crystal water and sandy beaches, on the other there’s the dark unwelcoming jungle with it’s claustrophobic feel, creeping vines, poisonous creatures and stifling humidity.

The characters themselves are, on reflection, really well done.  At first I was tempted to say that I didn’t like any of them but really this isn’t entirely true.  For the most part I liked Lux  although her later actions changed that, I mean really Lux, could you be any more hypocritical!  Anyway, that little tease aside, things clicked into place for me with all of them when I came to the realisation that they’re all pretty shallow not to mention excessively entitled. In that respect, as soon as they gathered on this island you could see the way certain threads were going to develop – it was inevitable.  On top of that some of them are very much motivated by revenge and in fact take this to whole new depths which you could be forgiven for saying are definitely over the top.

The story definitely takes inspiration from other novels, it initially put me in mind of The Beach in that a bunch of young people wanted to find that special unspoilt place.  It has elements of Lord of Flies in that the group splinters into factions and things start to go wrong pretty quickly.  But, all that being said this is it’s own beast.  I didn’t put together all the different pieces here and certainly didn’t see that ending coming at all.

In terms of criticisms.  I actually enjoyed this but I found the ending a bit surprising and not at all what I expected – which could be a good thing really (in fact I think this style is very on trend at the moment with books and films going in a slightly different direction than you would normally think).  Having given this considerable thought the only thing I would say is that similarly to Hawkin’s The Wife Upstairs, this is the sort of story where you need to adjust your expectations.  It’s not totally believable, there are little plot holes, the characters are fickle and also a little overblown, like the author took the worst aspects of them and magnified them – but, now I’ve had time to consider that what comes across for me is that this is very much a novel with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  Not everyone is likable here and equally not everything is realistic.  I mean, would people really act like this – let’s hope not.  Although truth is often stranger than fiction, so, be afraid.

I have to say that I’m very curious to see what this author comes up with next and given the way she writes I think next time around I’ll have a much better idea of what to expect  – although maybe I should completely go into the next read with no knowledge whatsoever – maybe not even read the description.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 3.5 of 5 stars.


11 Responses to “Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins”

  1. Tammy

    I love the idea of being stuck on an island with questionable characters, but it’s too bad the story took an unrealistic turn.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I don’t know, even as I was writing this review I was thinking almost differently, like it seems to be quite on point at the moment to turn things on their head a little. lol
      Lynn 😀

  2. confessionsofayareader

    This is a great review for this book. I agree with you on a lot of it.

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I’m not sure if I’m more attracted by the premise for this story or more put off by your warnings about the characters acting in a far-too-weird way… 😉

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, maybe I’ve been too strong. At the end of the day this is a very easy to read book, it went in a different way than I was thinking and the characters all ended up being slightly unlikable. But, very easy to read..
      Lynn 😀

  4. Booking Ahead/Weekly Wrap Up | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins […]

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Love the idea! But dang, wish you’d enjoyed it a bit more than 3.5.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, it wasn’t bad tbf and very easy to read but it didn’t wow me and the ending was a bit too OTT.
      Lynn 😀


    slow-burn psychological suspense/thriller set on a deserted island. Thanks for sharing this. We have also reviewed this novel. Do read our review and share your comments.

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