The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
Published October 4, 2016 by Imprint
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?
♫ ♫ ♫ ♪This book was a cliché after cliché and... I ended up liking it?
I started this book fairly late into the night and if I didn't have class the following day--well, later that day, I suppose--I would have continued until I was finished. There wasn't anything unique about the book, but it was strangely addicting.
Frankie's life was the perfect daughter, perfect friend, perfect girlfriend. But after her boyfriend, Noah, died, a new Frankie emerged and it wasn't one the people around her were used to. She's become reckless, believing that nothing matters anymore. When one of her new adventures gets too out of hand, she's kicked out of her house and her prestigious school in the Heights and sent to the Downs. If her life hadn't been a mess the past summer, it's about to get a whole lot worse because the Downs has two problems for Frankie: street racing and Marco Leone.
Like I've already said: lots of clichés. Frankie is the new girl at Monroe, the high school in the Downs, Marco is the bad boy with a secret past, and there is some sort of insta-attraction. Surprisingly, though, none of those things bothered me. I actually ended up really liking both characters and their interactions in the first half of the book.
Marco was the kind of boy who gave me swoons just by talking. That doesn't happen often (the last time was probably Noah Shaw) so it caught me off guard. Although I thought some of the ways Frankie and Marco bumped into each other was a bit too convenient (which was kinda expected, tbh) I loved how the two interacted! You could already tell there was ~something~ there and they were clearly not used to it, but I found it so adorable!
I also really liked Frankie as a main character. Yeah, she took some stupid risks but the fact that no one saw what was hurting her--well, it doesn't justify what she does in the book, but I get it. It hurt to see her misunderstood and unable to really tell the people who kept giving her a hard time what was going on with her.
Another thing I liked was the female friendship. I'm a bit torn here because while Frankie DOES has a great girl friend, Lex, I felt that because of what Frankie was struggling with, there wasn't much of the amazing female friendship that I really wanted to see. (I don't want to just pin it on what she went through, though. Frankie was a pretty bad friend to Lex, who was nothing but supportive and loyal to her. You go Lex, you're pretty amazing.)
However, Garcia also had another amazing and kick-ass character, Cruz. I loved Cruz so much--her strength, her loyalty, her no non-sense attitude. She could stand up for herself and she wasn't afraid to do just that. I liked that Frankie and her became friends because they were pretty great to see together.
I did like this book but there were some things that really bothered me.
For one, I didn't like how one of Frankie's old friends, Abel, kind of kept getting sidelined. It was introduced way early on that something fishy was going on with him, but it came back at odd intervals and I think that he should have been a bit more involved. It didn't really make sense to me to introduce an issue that bothered both Frankie and Lex but bring it up when it was convenient for the plot.
The romance in the second half also sort of bothered me. In the beginning, I enjoyed reading about the two, but in the second, it just got kind of melodramatic. This was the kind of cliché I did not like: parent breaking up the lovers because they were destined to be doomed or something (I mean, they weren't, but it had that vibe to it). Having to create a distance between the two because of the age old excuse of "I want to protect you." I'm legit so tired of that excuse so it was annoying to see Frankie's dad keep bringing that up.
There is some mention of PTSD in the book. Frankie knows her boyfriend was murdered but she can't remember much from that night, and memories filter back at odd times, like when she's writing, or when something someone says triggers a memory. If I'm honest, I would've liked to see a bit more of this, but it was okay for the most part. My only issue was that I had figured out who'd killed Noah (Frankie's old boyfriend) the minute the guy was introduced.
This is the real first contemporary I've read in a loooong while, so I was pretty happy with this book. It had its issues, but overall, I really did enjoy it. While the writing wasn't anything special or anything, it was engaging enough for me to want to continue reading.
So! Overall, 3.5 stars.