With a plot that goes from zero to sixty in one page, The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia will seduce readers with its smoldering, star-crossed romance and keep them hooked with the high-stakes world of illegal street racing.
Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.
Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?
Take one-part Romeo & Juliet, subtract the suicide pact and inject a high-octane dose of Fast & the Furious-style street racing, and The Lovely Reckless is what you’ll get. This book is Kami Garcia’s first contemporary YA, and I’d say it’s a smashing success. Gritty, addictive, and thrilling, The Lovely Reckless is one of my favorite books of the year.
I loved the fast-paced plot and engaging story line. Sure, at times the romance felt a little bit like “insta-love,” but it kept the story moving swiftly and I liked being able to just race along to the more dramatic elements of the story. Kami builds a plot beautifully, and she layered this one expertly — with new layers of intrigue and drama building and building to a truly intense climax. Explosive? Definitely.
But what’s a book without its characters? Beautifully flawed and complicated, Frankie, Marco, and their friends are interesting people whose world I was happy to spend time in. I wanted to know more about them, and every new revelation in The Lovely Reckless made me care about them even more. And kudos to Kami for writing Frankie as a young woman who can be both fragile and damaged, as well as strong and courageous and independent. She’s not defined by her relationships, and she’s not willing to play the damsel in distress. Get it, girl.
I’ve loved all of Kami’s books, both the Beautiful Creatures series she co-authored with Margaret Stohl and her solo Legion series (which I still think deserves a TV show adaptation) — but this, her first contemporary, proves that she doesn’t need the supernatural to carry her stories.
The Lovely Reckless is in stores now!