Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins was an interesting beach thriller, feeling akin to the TV show Lost. Lux and Nico go to a remote island, but all is not as it seems.
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy and may or may not reflect the published edition.
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.
“It begins, I echo in my head. And I don’t just mean this one trip.”
This is my second book from Hawkins, and it feels similar in the way the pacing works. You hit the ground running with these, but there is a lull midway through that makes getting to the end a bit of a struggle. When all the pieces came together, it leaves something to be desired. All the pieces get tidied up in such a neat way, that it’s almost unsatisfying to see. You have no questions, no misunderstandings, but it still feels too far-fetched for anyone to get away with what they do.
“Oh, Luxy,” she says. “Don’t tell the others, but you’re my favorite.”
This was a bit of a cluster of ideas merged. You have Lord of the Flies meets Lost meets Andrea Bartz’s style of women-powered thriller. Some of it worked really well, and some of it didn’t work at all. To start with, the characters are all frustrating. You don’t like any of them all that much, and it makes caring about who survives this claustrophobic island a bit “meh”. I found myself just wanting to know everyone’s backstory secrets more than caring about what was going on actively. It made my interest diminish as time goes on. While there is hinting at crazed stranded island behavior, Hawkins fails to play on the trope. It feels more like an afterthought rather than something worth focusing the entire book on.
“You’re like us. You’ve lost so much, and you kept going, kept trying to make something new, something beautiful.”
The book was intriguing enough to binge read, but the ending left me disappointed. The final third of the book is a bit of a journey to even get to. When you do, everything starts getting cleaned up incredibly quickly. At times, it feels like Hawkins forgot she needed to wrap the book up. As though she did it as quickly as possible. I enjoyed the book, but it could have been a little tidier all in all.
“What am I when you strip everything else away? I’m a motherfucking survivor.”
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.