Honestly this was a 4.5 star read for me, and that’s just because one of the characters died in a stupid way that I went okay that seems ridiculous. But until that little hiccup, this was definitely a 5 star read. I just rounded up to 5 stars because everything else in the book, character development, writing, flow, setting, and the ending were fantastic. I also had to go back and re-read the prologue because you don’t find out until the end who that person was who was drowning at the beginning. I think Hawkins definitely managed to infuse this book with a lot of Gothic tropes and she the little pieces of information we are provided via Instagram posts, interviews with detectives, etc. helps put everything together.
“Reckless Girls” follows twenty something year old Lux McAllister. Lux is working as a maid at a hotel in Hawaii. Lux’s life is not really where she thought it would be at this point. But she’s trying to make the best of things since her boyfriend Nico seems happy to be working in the marina while they save money trying to fix his boat the Susannah. When Nico is offered a lot of money to take two young women (Brittany and Amma) to a remote island called Meroe, he says he won’t go along unless Lux comes with them. Lux is wary about the four of them being on an a boat for several days and the island for two weeks, but finally agrees. When they foursome arrive, they find another couple (Eliza and Jake) and the six of them seem to be gelling together, but there seems to be something dark about the island and when another person comes along to camp out on the island, things hit a breaking point.
So I felt for Lux. You find out a lot about her through bits and pieces of the book and you found out about her mother, her father, and how she ended up meeting Nico and falling for him. And even though there is something that warns Lux about Nico, she still acts a role (the cool girlfriend) around him and others so that he doesn’t know how much she loves and needs him.
The other characters we get some insight into since Hawkins shows us “Before” following Amma, Brittany, and even Eliza. You start to put the pieces together, towards the end about certain characters and see some of the hints that Hawkins gives you about people/things/incidents until all is fully revealed at the end of the book.
I thought the writing was very good. Each of the women in this book were “reckless” about certain things, either men or their own actions surrounding them. For Lux you had her giving up her entire life to sail almost around the world with Nico. Instead she is a maid at a hotel and living with Nico and other people in a small damp place. Brittany has a tragedy in her past that you don’t fully know the extent of and seems focused on traveling to escape how much pain she is. And even Eliza and Amma have other things that are driving them.
The flow was really good. I was initially worried that having the book mostly follow Lux with little chapters following the other women would take away from the main story, but it really worked for me.
The setting of Hawaii seems dull. When I think of Hawaii I picture the ocean, beaches, and luaus. Instead we see it through Lux’s eyes and it’s not a place you want to stay for long. And even though Meroe Island starts off as a paradise, it quickly becomes a dark and frightening place after the group gets blown apart. I liked Hawkins at the end of the book saying she took inspiration from “And The Sea Will Tell.” I recall watching that tv series when I was growing up and I recall watching the two couples (Buck Walker and Stephanie Stearns and “Mac” Graham and Eleanor “Muff” Graham) and seeing how things went from friendly to dark very quickly.
The ending was a little off, it was good, but as I said some of the explanation and resolution about things felt rushed and a bit ridiculous.