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!
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[…] The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia | Had a lot of tropes (especially overused in romance contemporaries) but I still really liked it! An angsty read with character development clearly evident. […]
This book kind of reminds of Katie McGarry because of the characters who are from the rough side of town and the romance that ensues. It sounds like you really enjoyed it Aila!
Oh definitely! I've only read one of her books but it instills the same cliches that for some reason really work (LOL). For some reason I really like these books? Maybe it's just the action and romance that make me feel all excited hehe. 😛
Ahhhhh, I really need to get a copy f this book! All the reviews I've read for it only make me want to read it more. This sounds like exactly the kind of contemporary I've been looking for.
Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist
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YES NEREYDA I think you'll really like this one! Just the romance alone is enough to make me feel all tingly when recommending it eeee. Hope you get to pick it up soon!
I’ve seen this book around, but never read the blurb. Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much. I’ve been in this place myself: enjoying a book that is problematic and not perfect. The only thing that I’m not sure about is mystery behind the murder. Was it a big part of the story or just a background? Wonderful review, Aila! And I like your photo!
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The mystery behind the murder is actually a pretty big part of the story as it dictates how the characters act some of the time and is slowly revealed throughout it all. But it definitely doesn't overburden the plot in any way. 🙂 And thanks! <3
I loved this so much! Especially the slow burn romance and all the car talk! I love illegal racing books but there's barely any :/ So I was very happy when I got this book! Great review 🙂
Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews
Ooh yay! I hope you're enjoying it then 😀
oh man now i will need to look this one up, heard nothing but good things, the romance alone yes please
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OMG YES, the romance alone is *reaches towards heavens and clutches back towards heart* off the charts! Definitely one not to be missed ;D
Nice review Aila!! I like how you talked about some things that people may find problematic while also showing how much you liked the book! I rarely read contemporary books, but I may have to check this one out the next time I want to read that genre. 🙂
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That would be awesome Becca! I personally think it's a contemporary not to be missed out on, just because it's different than the drama-induced books out there that deal with eye-rolling characters. I hope you get the chance to pick it up soon!
When I read the synopsis for this book my thoughts immediately went to Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limit series; full of cliches, a lot of drama but seriously addictive. Street racing is also a concept that I've not read much about so I'd like to see the role that lifestyle plays in the characters lives and relationships. Even with the mixed reviews I'm still excited to read this book.
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Okay but you pretty much hit the nail on the head! I read one of McGarry's books, and it really feels like that – although there are tropes and cliches, there are also great elements in it that really keeps a reader going. 😀
This seems like the sort of book I need to keep on my shelf for when I have a terrible week of reading and need a pick-me-up. I appreciate you addressing the unrealistic troupes, too. Now I know exactly when to read it– if I read it during a good week of reading, I might hate it. We can't have that! 🙂
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Oh oh – it's definitely a perfect pick-me-up 😀 Also I totally understand you, sometimes I have to really be in the MOOD for something to truly enjoy it or else it'd be the opposite (lol)
I often find that when I re-read books my opinion can change drastically. I think my mental state is key to enjoying much of what I read.
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I wasn't so sure about this one, but I requested it at the library and I can't wait to get to it now after reading your review. I'm here for a smoking hot romance! I've been missing those really intense romance that YA books can have and I think this will be perfect.
Lovely review, Aila!
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Ooh lala, I hope you like it when you get the chance to read it Nick 😀 Ah yes, the romance was off the charts in chemistry! *sizzles* And further intensified by the action going around the characters.
Ok this definitely definitely sounds like a book I need to read!! I mean a "smoking hot romance" AND a mystery?! Weirdly enough, I haven't read too many reviews of this book yet (and those that I have read are really positive) so it's interesting to hear your friend had a few issues with it. And based on your descriptions of the various cliches and predictable tropes, I feel like my best friend would LOVE this book. XD
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Yeah, my friend was just salty about the Latinx representation and the tropes in general I believe. But *I* still loved this one LOL. I definitely recommend this one if you're in the mood for a fast-paced romantic mystery!