Published by Macmillan, Imprint on 10/4/16
Genres: Young Adult
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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?
“Just once, I wish I knew what it felt like to fly.”
The Lovely Reckless is being pegged as a mix between The Fast and the Furious and Romeo and Juliet. I can say that’s a pretty accurate assessment, even though I usually roll my eyes at these catchy comparisons. The Lovely Reckless is equal parts gritty and sweet, a romance for the young, weightless, and pure heart, and one that an adult can read and feel the rush of intoxicating first and true love.
I enjoyed the grit and rush more so than the star-crossed-love aspect of this novel, so I can’t say this one blew me away, but The Lovely Reckless is an intoxicating story nonetheless. Kami Garcia is an author that’s been on my radar for years–her paranormal YA series has been recommended to me by a few friends. Now, obviously TLR isn’t the same kind of read, but I enjoyed what I read and I’m planning on finding the time to read her other novels. I liked the straightforwardness of her style, and her ability to write an emotionally gripping storyline that captured my attention from the first few pages. Plus, I adored the love story she created, the palpable chemistry she weaved between Frankie and Marco, even if things got a bit cheesy towards the end.
When we meet Frank Devereux, she’s a girl who is recovering from a traumatic experience. She’s reckless and questioning herself, her future, and everyone around her. When she moves in with her absent father, she’s still rattled, but quietly optimistic about this new beginning. It doesn’t take long before she’s embroiled in the dangerous culture of the Downs, and falling for Marco Leone, the seemingly uncontrolled bad boy and possible criminal who reins the school. Yes, yes, you’ve seen similar tropes before, but this one is good.
One reason why I love reading YA is because they can’t go too far with the romance, so inevitable there’ll be a slow burn. The Lovely Reckless has a nice slow burn for the first half of the novel, which I relished in. As I mentioned, things do get cheesy past the halfway mark (my notes exactly: WHOA that just got hella serious, hella fast. Yes, the stakes are high for them, but they’re losing me emotionally), but I’ve always thought Romeo and Juliet was melodramatic, so that aspect was always going to be a tough sell for me. But, don’t let my aversion stop you if that’s what hits your spot.
This story’s pull is the pace. I gobbled up this story faster than is typical for me. Yes, that might’ve been because the prose is simple, but I think the plot is just laid well. We get good insight on each protagonist from his or her first appearances, and although there is time spent getting to know them, especially Frankie, it is mostly action most of the time, with some suspense thrown in the mix.
If you enjoy reading YA, then I think you’ll enjoy this read. I’m thrilled that my first experience with Kami Garcia was an entertaining and memorable one. The Lovely Reckless is a sweetly addictive, fun page-turner that I relished reading.