Review: “Reckless Girls” by Rachel Hawkins

reckless girls by rachel hawkins book cover from goodreads
Original background cover photo credit: Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

Salt water and blood taste the same.

Reckless Girls, Prologue opening

Author: Rachel Hawkins 
Publication Date: January 4th 2022
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Thriller
Find it on: Goodreads

Synopsis

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.

From Goodreads

Review

Book Content Warnings: drowning, cancer, infidelity, eating disorder, drug trafficking, car accident

If you’re looking for a fantastic summery, sun-soaked thriller look no further than Rachel Hawkins‘ recent release, Reckless Girls. Set in the gorgeous Hawaiian islands near Maui, this book offers the perfect vacation to warm sand beaches and relaxing ocean breezes. Readers follow main character Lux as she sets sail to a remote island with boyfriend Nico and two young women who have offered a sum of money Lux and Nico can’t refuse. The peaceful island seems idyllic at first – private, untainted, and remote. But it’s not long before unexpected company arrives and the island begins to reveal a darker side. As their fantasy vacation collapses around them, the characters must fight for a way to get off the island alive.

The Susannah fixed, with enough money left over to stock her well. One job, and then finally – finally – the adventure I’d signed on for could start.

Reckless Girls, p27

This story switches between past and present perspectives. In the present we enjoy the island vacation plot as it gradually turns sour, and in the past we get a trickle of background on each of the characters with extra focus on the two women who charted the island trip with Lux and Nico. Readers find not all of the characters have been entirely forthcoming and a dark past begins to surface as the story progresses. Unfortunately I didn’t find many of the characters likeable, but I did enjoy main character Lux. She was immediately endearing with her sympathetic backstory and hopeful outlook. Lux is in emotional and financial straits when she meets her current boyfriend, Nico, who I decidedly didn’t enjoy. Through the story I found Lux to be capable and resilient in the face of incredibly difficult situations.

…I see now that Robbie was right about one thing: this island doesn’t twist people up. It just turns them into the purest version of themselves, hones them like a knife’s blade.

Reckless Girls, (unknown page loc)

Reckless Girls is one of the best island thrillers I’ve read so far. Author Rachel Hawkins balances bright, warm island vibes with simmering tensions and a remote setting. The structure worked well for me and the atmosphere was fantastic as a seasonal summer read. I’d highly recommend giving this book a try if you’re looking for a summer thriller to sink your teeth in to!

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