reckless girls rachel hawkins
Book Review / Rachel Hawkins / Reviews with Spoilers

Rachel Hawkins | Reckless Girls

reckless girls rachel hawkins

The Book: 

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

Published January 4th 2022 by St. Martin’s Press
Date read: October 25, 2021

The Characters: 

Lux and Nico
Brittany and Amma
Eliza and Jake

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

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.

Click here for book spoilers for Reckless Girls
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Reckless Girls, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist: 

Nico slept with Amma, Lux slept with Jake, and then Lux and Jake found Robbie (the creepy guy who smashed their radios) dead in the jungle. He presumably had eaten some poisoned fish that the group had warned him about.

Next Nico goes missing. Lux assumes he found out that she slept with Jake and abandoned her, but Amma finds his boat on the other side of the island. Everyone fights, and Lux swims back to shore and passes out from a broken nose. When she wakes up, she finds Amma dead on the beach next to her. Amma had been trying to drown Lux I guess, and Lux fought back? Unclear.

Amma had tricked Brittany into being her friend at the grief group. Her boyfriend, Sterling, had been drunk driving when he killed Brittany’s whole family. Amma befriended Brittany out of guilt. Their friend Chloe told Brittany the truth and then disappeared.

Chloe was Eliza. She and Brittany secretly planned to meet up in Meroe. Jake was responsible for putting Eliza’s mother in jail (she was his drug mule), and Eliza wanted to get back at him too. Chloe and Brittany were planning on killing Jake and Amma.

Eliza accidentally kills Brittany, trying to shoot Jake. Jake had killed Robbie because Robbie stole his drugs. Eliza tries to convince Lux to kill Jake and the two of them can get away, but Lux kills Eliza instead and then Jake too.

The Ending:

Lux is hanging out in hostel bars, looking for other girls screwed over by their boyfriends while on vacation. She teaches them to steal from their boyfriends and then disappear.

Spoiler Thoughts:

My biggest question: How did Amma never question Chloe introducing herself as Eliza, or give away that they’d met previously? I know Brittany was in on it, but wouldn’t Amma be like “what are you doing here?”?

Why did Brittany and Chloe/Eliza think Lux would want to kill Nico just for cheating on her? Were they just grasping at straws because they’d been found out?
Also curious why Robbie only stole Lux’s passport.

The Review: 

I was totally hooked from the first page of this tropical thriller and actually enjoyed it more than her previous novel. I loved being able to reminisce in memories of past sailing trips and a vacation to Hawaii. Thankfully my trips ended much better than Lux’s!

I’m a huge fan of semi-closed-room thrillers that take place on isolated islands: think Death in the Family, The Fiance, Her Dark Lies, and The Guest List. Instead of a dark and stormy night, Hawkins took this setting and added a splash of sunshine and sand, but the atmosphere of isolation was definitely still there.

Reckless Girls is told from the point of view of Lux in present day, as well as flashbacks from Lux, Brittany and Amma, and Eliza. It is clear early on from the flashbacks that many of the characters in the present-day aren’t who they seem. I couldn’t wait to see how it all played out. There are also creepy news articles, letters, and social media posts scattered throughout that highlight the curse of Meroe Island.

This is a very quick read. I easily could have finished in a day, thanks to short chapters and fascinating storytelling. I got definite Lord of the Flies and And Then There Were None vibes, but in a sunny modern setting that contrasted fabulously with the subject matter. The ending left me with a few questions, so if you’ve read this one head over to my blog post to discuss!
Reckless Girls will be published in early 2022, and this is definitely one you don’t want to miss.

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Did you read my review of Rachel Hawkins’ previous book, The Wife Upstairs? Check it out here!

reckless girls rachel hawkins
reckless girls rachel hawkins

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