From Rachel Hawkins, the New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs, comes Reckless Girls, a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set on an isolated Pacific island with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.
Beautiful, wild, and strange—Meroe Island is a desolate spot in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. It’s the perfect destination for the most adventurous traveler to escape everything… except the truth.
Six stunning twentysomethings are about to embark on a blissful, free-spirited journey—one filled with sun-drenched days and intoxicating nights. But as 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, sending them on a dangerous spiral of discovery.
When one person goes missing and another turns up dead, the remaining friends wonder what dark currents lie beneath this impenetrable paradise—and who else will be swept under its secluded chaos. With its island gothic sensibility, sexy suspense, and spine-tingling reimagining of an Agatha Christie classic, Reckless Girls will wreck you.
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins is a page-turning psychological thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t wait to find out what Meroe Island had in store for the six characters who chose to get away from it all for a few weeks on a deserted island of some infamy.
What I Enjoyed:
The aspect that I loved the most about Reckless Girls was its ability to keep me on the edge of my seat at all times. It amazed me every time I stopped to think back about what had been taking place, and I had to admit nothing of note had happened. Yet, I found it hard to tear my eyes from the page. A few ingenious and highly effective technical aspects make this possible.
The backstories of each character are full of intrigue and perfectly placed to break up the current timeline and add a bit of suspense that couldn’t have happened otherwise. I’m not sure that they added much to character development. Still, they propel the story into a more fast and furious pace as all the many layers of the past are revealed slowly and purposefully, sort of like a thriller version of a striptease. And the way that past and present converge is utterly mind-blowing, and who doesn’t love their minds blown in a psychological thriller.
Also, another aspect that kept the pace up until the speed of the current timeline was ready to take off in an explosive finale is the little blurbs of different stories about the island itself. This made the island take on the importance of a character and increased the atmospheric quality of the tale ten-fold. The creepy and eerie tales were small but powerful in creating just the right suspenseful feel that the story needed.
Lastly, the current timeline told in the first person through the eyes of Lux gives the timeline that bit of suspense needed as her thoughts go a bit wild. A third person telling could not have accomplished this. Lux’s interpretation of the events unfolding is delightfully unreliable and seen through untrusting eyes. I loved this story’s narration and what it added to the thrills.
I can’t tell you much more without repeating the book blurb, or worse, giving away spoilers, and you all know how I feel about that.
Reminds Me Of:
There are some thin vibes of Lost in this story without all the crazy plot developments that the tv show treated watchers to.
There are six characters of significance, all in their 20s:
- Lux, the main character and narrator
- Nico, her boyfriend
- Brittany and Ama, college friends who hire Nico to sail them to Meroe Island
- And Eliza and Jake, already at the island when the other 4 get there.
The characters aren’t developed a great deal but just enough to understand their motivations in the story.
What I Wish:
My instincts tell me that this novel could have been taken to a whole other level if the characters had been developed more fully and sympathy or even empathy had been able to find its way into the reader’s experience. I don’t mind a lack of character development in a thriller because there are lots of times when I can see where it’s necessary to carry off the big surprises. Still, I could imagine in this story that it would have transported the story and reader into a mind-blowing experience that would have stuck with me for a long time.
To Read or Not to Read:
If you are looking for a thrilling escape story, this one will happily transport you to a deserted island in the pacific that is as beautiful as it is deadly,