Title: The Lovely Reckless
Author: Kami Garcia
Release Date: October 4th 2016
**I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, which does not influence my review**
Kami Garcia’s The Lovely Reckless starts off interesting enough, as a story about a girl trying to recover memories from a tragic night, but quickly becomes frustrating with an unlikable protagonist and a romance that moves far too quickly. Frankie Devereux hasn’t been the same since her boyfriend Noah died, she’s isolated herself from her friends and struggles to be the person her parents think she is. After a bad decision, Frankie is forced to move in with her father, who lives in the Downs, the poor side of town. From the get-go, it was hard to like Frankie when she seemed to resent both her parents for punishing her for her own stupid mistakes. She had this mindset that because she said she was sorry for driving while drunk that any consequences for those actions didn’t seem to apply to her.
Frankie’s romance with the bad-boy-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks was part cringe-worthy and also unhealthy. Aside from being very cliché, Marco Leone had some violent tendencies and exhibited bad decision making, which made me question the protagonist’s judgment as well. There is an instant attraction between the two, which in itself wasn’t an issue, but this combined with Marco’s instant “protectiveness” of Frankie (which came across more like possessiveness) and the speed at which their relationship went from “I find you attractive” to “I can’t live without you” had me shaking my head in dismay. Frankie is so focused on Marco’s softer side that she can’t understand why people like her father would ever object to their relationship. To Frankie, her parents are always trying to ruin her life rather than look out for her future. While I would agree that her parents didn’t always go about things the right way, Frankie was so ready to forgive Marco his mistakes, but was never willing to give her own parents the benefit of the doubt.
I wasn’t too fond of the minor characters in this novel. Frankie’s two best friends Lex and Abel did manage to have their own character arcs, but it was hard to sympathize with so many characters who were making bad decisions at every turn. Just like with Marco, we as readers are supposed to be forgiving when the true motives of these characters are revealed. This was a very contrived way to create conflict when the characters could have and should have been honest in the beginning. There is one minor character that I actually did enjoy. Cruz became an unlikely friend to Frankie. She was tough and struggled with some difficult family issues. I really wish we could have learned more about her and several times wished the novel had focused on her instead.
The Lovely Reckless was a hard read to get through. The swoon-worthy moments induced major eye-rolling on my part and the patched-up ending left me unsatisfied.