Book Review: The Lovely Reckless by Karmi Garcia

27414434Title: The Lovely Reckless

Author : Kami Garcia

Publisher : Imprint

Release date : October 4th, 2016

Rating : 2.8/5

☯ Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

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?

⚜ Review :

I should’ve known I was going to be disappointed by this book; I thoroughly disliked Garcia’s Caster Chronicles. BUT, I chose to read it because the author is well-loved and I thought that I just missed the reason why, so I wanted to give her another chance. *sigh* I’ll have to resign myself to the fact that Garcia and I are not compatible.

I’ll start with the good points for this one.

Let’s be honest here: I was totally into it for the street racing. They said Romeo & Juliet/Fast and Furious? HELL YEAH. I learnt quite a few things about this dangerous sport (?) and, although there was not nearly enough of it throughout the story, I enjoyed everything related to it, whether it be the mechanics and the techniques or the races themselves.

I don’t know if Garcia was influenced by the subject of car racing, but I found that the plot was fast paced, almost never having a dull moment. I’m not saying there was action at every turn, but there was always something interesting happening (like a fight or an engaging conversation). Plus, I definitely wanted to know the conclusion of that story, which made it all the more captivating.

Personally, what contributed to the ever-entertaining storyline were the totally awesome, multi-dimensional secondary characters. Sure, they check off the list of “dark past victims” (maybe too much?), but they aren’t the broody, morose type. None of them *yay*! My favorite one is definitely CRUZ. Such a badass, I’m totally in love/want to be best friends/trusted accomplice with her. She knows her worth and is confident, without being arrogant, and so honest and true. WHAT, A, BADASS.

Finally, the most important point is that Karmi Garcia tried and somewhat succeeded in portraying a mental disorder called the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). You may have heard of it when referring to war veterans; it’s the disorder that keeps them up at night, unable to sleep because of nightmares, that keeps their fingers shaking and their minds wandering. While Frankie doesn’t experience PTSD that exact same way, she does have those mood swings, heightened emotions and isolating habits.

UNFORTUNATELY, I think that’s all I appreciated about Frankie. I understand her situation is miserable; she suffers of PTSD after watching her boyfriend being beat to death (and not doing anything). But after some time, the negativity got boring and old. Let’s remember that this is a book, here? Spending hours and days on a girl who’s constantly negative got on my nerves. And what really triggered me, caused me to hate her, is the way she treats people, especially her dad. He’s not the perfect dad, and his job forces him to be absent often, but he’s trying, he genuinely wants to help her being safe and looks out for her. But she doesn’t see that, she talks to him in an insolent way, with so much venom. I swear I would’ve slapped her a few times if I were in there. She seems to be the spoiled little brat who throws tantrums when she doesn’t get what she wants… reinforced by the fact that she actually IS rich, as Garcia often reminds us. Actually, she’s just the rich girl rebelling.

I’m ending my ranting on this last complaint: INSTA-LOVE. How many times have they talked before they fell head over heels for each other? Um, 4 10-minute conversations? That’s hardly convincing. I can understand insta-lust, but you can’t actually make me believe that Frankie got a total of 40 mins to fall in love with someone. And what’s more, her boyfriend’s got beaten to death 3 months ago. Only 3 months, people, and then Frankie moves somewhere else, meets Marco, and claims to be in love with him. You know what’s worse? Garcia actually used the cheap trick of mentioning that Frankie “didn’t even really love her dead boyfriend anyway, so it’s totally okay for her to love this new guy now, while in mourning for her ex”. This justification of falling for Marco so quickly bothered me so much, I just couldn’t find it in me to ship them. And even their romance was so over-the-top clichés. Nop, not for me.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t recommend this book. The main character and the main romance left to be desired, the only redeeming qualities being the background plotlines and characters. I’m sorry to say this, but Kami Garcia will now have a permanent spot in my blacklist.

Thank you to NetGalley!


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