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.
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!