Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Book Review: Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

Pages: 320
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: January 4, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin's
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Hex Hall,
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "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."


Lux has been living a depressing life since she left college to help take care of her sick mother.  After her mother's death, Lux tries to pick up her life again.  She is working as a waitress in San Diego, and while at the restaurant, she meets Nico Johannsen.  They hit it off and he asks her to come along with him on his boat, the Susannah, as he is going to take an epic trip. She agrees, because what else does she have going on? Nothing.  She meets him out in Hawaii to set sail, but the Susannah needs some major repairs before they can go.  Lux is cleaning hotel rooms to make some money, but all this changes when Nico comes across Brittany and Amma who offer Nico a ton of cash to sail they to Meroe Island in the Pacific.  They pay to fix the boat and now they can all go out to the uninhabited island together for two weeks.  Quite an adventure, right?  Although the voyage over wasn't easy, once they get to Meroe, they are in awe of its beauty.  Jake and Eliza, are also docked at the island, and initially, the whole group gets along.  However, as the characters get to know one another, secrets are slowly revealed and alliances are questioned.  Perhaps life on this desolate tropical island isn't paradise after all, not to mention the island's creepy history.  Lux is in over her head at this point in the suspenseful thriller, Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins. 

While I didn't always agree with Lux's decisions in Reckless Girls, I felt badly for her as she is definitely on a different path than she imagined she would be.  When she meets Nico, unfortunately she latches onto him and I wish she would have been more hesitant, but she is all in for this adventure.  She has nothing waiting for her at home anymore, but she decides to go. I couldn't help but think would someone really do this? Does she even know Brittany and Amma well enough to spend two weeks with them on a remote island? How Brittany and Amma they get their money? Also, Nico gave me bad vibes from the start. He comes from a wealthy family, but is estranged from them, so he has to make his own way in the world.  I didn't trust him and felt like he wasn't sharing the entire truth with Lux.  Hawkins provides readers with flashbacks, so they can get to know the characters before this trip and let's just say, most of the characters are withholding secrets.

The setting of Meroe Island in the Pacific was extremely well done by Hawkins. It definitely had Gilligan's Island vibes, but with a layer of horror in that the history of the island is beyond eerie. I was worried about what might be in the jungle and on top of the character's unpredictable and hedonistic behavior, it was stressing me out. Also, while I thought the setting of Meroe Island was beyond creepy and felt like a prison at times, I didn't think it was entirely a "Gothic suspense" as was indicated in the synopsis.  Gothic suspense novels, at least in my mind, are more like Jane Eyre--- a protagonist in a crumbling castle or gloomy mansion that has supernatural elements. While Reckless Girls fit some of those characteristics, it felt too soapy to me to be entirely Gothic. 

Hawkins includes a lot of plot twists and some that worked for me in Reckless Girls; however, there were other events that I felt were just too unbelievable.  That was my only issue with Reckless Girls--at times I really didn't buy into what was happening. It just seemed extremely unlikely.  Nonetheless, it made for an interesting story and one that I was addicted to.

So, if you are looking for a thriller that's filled with drama, secrets, and a creepy setting to boot, give Reckless Girls a try this winter.  Have you read it? Are you a fan of Rachel Hawkins? Let me know in the comments below. 



  1. I agree, it doesn't really sound that Gothic to me, but I do like the remote island setting!

    1. Yes, definitely a fun setting for sure. I felt trapped at times! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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