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.


Can’t Wait Wednesday : Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

Reckless Girls

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.

Expected publication : January 2022