I was really excited to get an advanced reader copy of Rachel Hawkins’ Reckless Girls after thoroughly enjoying her last book, The Wife Upstairs. I listened to the latter book as an audiobook, and the narrators of that book really, really sold the story for me. This time around I read Hawkins’ Reckless Girls, which left me wondering if I would have enjoyed it a bit better if I had listened to it as an audiobook. I used to have a lot of difficulty listening to audiobooks and paying attention to them, but after realizing I could listen to them while doing long drives and long walks, I decided to give them another try.
I had high hopes for this book, especially after reading the first 20-30 pages. The lead character, Lux, hasn’t had an easy life. Lux dropped out of college to care for her mother who is dying of cancer. Lux’s father is completely out of the picture, as he left Lux and her mother to start an entirely new family. When her mother passes, Lux, left with a pile of medical bills, is broke and heartbroken.
Lux finds work as a waitress at a diner in Southern California where she happens to meet a handsome, trust-fund man who goes by the name of Nico. Nico has had some sort of falling out with his rich family and has decided to renovate a sailboat to sail across the Pacific Ocean on his own to Hawaii. He is basically “slumming it” for fun in contrast to Lux who is literally living a life of poverty. Lux falls in love with him, and agrees to help him with his sailing trip and sailboat project.
Nico and Lux make it to Hawaii, and Lux is working another low-wage job as a resort housekeeper. Nico is still repairing the boat. Lux and Nico are living with another couple to make ends meet. An opportunity to sail a pair of wealthy young women to a smaller nearby island for a good amount of money arises, and Nico takes it. Little do either of them know they are in grave danger.
What I liked about this mystery is the setting. The tropical island with a mysterious history is a good backdrop for the story. I also liked the character development of Lux. However, I did struggle to keep track of what was happening with the two women’s backstories at times. There are a number of other characters who also come into the picture on the island, which somewhat detracts from Lux. Hawkins spent a lot of time upfront writing about Lux, so when the narrative shifted to the women on Nico’s ship and people who are on the island, I was like wait, let me hear more about Lux!
I will save the twist for readers, but needless to say the trip does not end well. I found the ending really satisfying, but it definitely left me wondering if there is a sequel in the works!
Thanks to Rachel Hawkins, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for an advanced reviewer copy of the book!