Published by Imprint on October 4th 2016
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
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I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.
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?
So here’s the thing with this book: it’s not perfect. Not in a long run, and I even have a friend who has problems with it. But personally, I went in with low expectations and came out highly enjoying the story. I think of it like a mix of Fast and Furious but also Grease. We have a high school romance, kids who go through pretty tough times, the adrenaline that comes from street racing, and a thrilling mystery going on. This book was essentially high in drama, high in romance, high in tension, and high in satisfaction. All the time while reading, my heartbeat was getting all spiked and the end was like a release where I felt nothing but good vibes. I recommend it for the people who like reading about kids out of the norm in contemporary. They’re going through tough times and are made stronger from it.
Right from the beginning, we get a feel for Frankie’s character. She may be lovely, but she’s also super reckless as well. That reckless behavior gets her sent to her father’s place in the Downs where everything is pretty run-down. It’s the poorer side of town, a deep contrast to the posh and privileged neighborhood where people go to private school. Over there, Frankie is essentially ignored by her dad and gets tangled up with a troublemaker at her new school.
“Washington Heights and Meadowbrook Downs didn’t get their nicknames by accident. Money is the dividing line – the street you live on, the type of car you drive, and whether your family as a country club membership matter more than anything else.
Marco was actually a super cutie patootie, despite the dangerous air he has around him. He’s super caring (although very low-key about it) and not as bad as the people around him think he is. I know loads of readers have complained about the insta-love going on, so fair warning of that. I myself didn’t think it was that instantaneous (more like attraction), and even so, I’m not one to say no to a love story. Their relationship was really sweet and full of chemistry! I was also worried about the dead boyfriend situation going on with Frankie, but it turns out that she liked him platonically more than romantically, which was interesting to note.
People expect me to pretend Noah and I were soul mates, destined to walk down the aisle five minutes after college graduation. But we didn’t have a forever, I-can’t-live-without-you kind of love. It was more like the I’ll-never-forget-you kind.
Frankie definitely discovers more about herself while trying to find her dead boyfriend’s murderer and finding out that it’s somehow tied into the street racing that Marco does on the side. It’s a dangerous world out there, and they really get into sticky situations. I think one thing that makes this book what it is (and makes me like it all the more) is how romanticized and dramatized things are. Maybe not like a soap opera, per se, but things can be undeniable unrealistic. Most of the characters are living a hard knock life, usually with the background of a predictable trope that is seen before. And yet despite all the cliches, I managed to enjoy myself tremendously. It’s like eating a mashup of all this great food and really enjoying it, even though half of it are leftovers. They’re weird combinations too, but hey! Who cares? Good food is good food, and a good book is a good book.
‘I don’t want to fix you, Angel. I just want you.’
With a smoking hot romance, a burning mystery going on, and a splattering of unrealistic tropes, The Lovely Reckless is the adrenaline-pumping read I needed to get back into reading contemporaries. The satisfying ending makes it a conclusive stand-alone, yet you can’t help but want to read more. We tackle issues of family, loyalty, and love in a gritty backdrop where there’s more to a character than what we first see.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Thank you MacMillan for the review copy!