Genre: Fiction; Thriller

Note: There are NO spoilers in this review. When discussing in the comments, please provide a spoiler warning if needed.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ / 5

For all the hype, Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins really missed the mark for me.

Maybe this is a spoiler, but not quite – there is no cannibalism in this book and that alone took almost an entire point off the rating for me. Despite the hundreds (maybe a little exaggeration there) of references to creepies and crawlies, this was just your standard revenge story. It could have been so much more.

Our story begins in Hawaii where Lux and her boyfriend Nico meet two girls – Brittany and Amma – who want to charter a boat and set out for Meroe Island. The island is steeped with mysterious and terrifying stories of its past involving shipwrecks, cannibalism, and murder.

But does the island drive people to violence or does it only bring their true nature to the surface?

“A sort of madness sets in when one is away from society for too long, when one looks out to the horizon and sees only sea and sky.”

Rachel Hawkins, Reckless Girls

Once the group arrives on the island they meet another couple and quickly fall into a rhythm of lying on the beach, drinking, and exploring the island. It’s blissful and seems like they have all stumbled upon paradise. Until a seventh person shows up and begins to cause riffs within the group, couples become unfaithful, and friendships are strained. 

One person disappears, another shows up dead, and everyone left behind is set on edge as they try to figure out what happened and get off of the island. 

So, why does the synopsis read to be so intriguing and the story still didn’t sit right for me? 

First, all of the drama and reveals happen in the last 80-100 pages. For 200 pages nothing happens. We are just hanging out with a group of friends having a good time on a deserted island. I was waiting and hoping for something and was left disappointed. Pacing is important in a novel, and Reckless Girls completely misses that mark.

My second reason I can only explain in vague terms, otherwise it could be a spoiler, but the big reveal/resolution seems shallow and ridiculous to me. Maybe that’s just because of the kind of person I am and how I handle situations, but this is a book about petty women out to get back at those who have wronged them. So, should you read Reckless Girls, yes. It’s not a terrible novel. It just doesn’t live up to the hype surrounding it and didn’t do it for me.

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