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?
Description taken from Goodreads.
Like everyone who hated The Lovely Reckless, I was ready to be done with this book about halfway through, but I kept on reading because I wanted to see what the big reveal was behind Frankie’s boyfriend’s killer.
It was worth it.
Yes, it’s instalove. Yes, it’s more tropes with the turn of every page. But I do think that anyone reading The Lovely Reckless–or any Kami Garcia book, for that matter–should go into it expecting those things. The storytelling lacks elegance, certain lines are beaten to death, plot points are obvious, those are all givens. Those aside, this story doesn’t deserve to be bashed the way it has been by some bloggers.
In terms of the romance, once you get past the instalove, it feels a lot like a Katie McGarry book. If you’re looking for something like this with a bit more style, I would point you in her direction. The Lovely Reckless is basically the same as the Pushing the Limits series, especially the later books, except for the inclusion of the murder mystery subplot.
All things considered, this was a decent read. It’s not anything that I would judge on a literary level, but it had moments that were pleasantly surprising. I thought the ending came together realistically. I mean–Frankie’s dad is a cop, and Marco’s on the wrong side of the law.
Garcia did a great job of arguing both Frankie’s dad’s case and Marco’s, and she didn’t make out either to be anything other than doing what they had to do. She also presented the police well in the kind of story where that could’ve been a huge mess. I was impressed by the way Garcia dealt with poverty, money, the law, and police enforcement. She handled each real-world problem well and delicately showed why each one is such a complex issue.
If anything, what brought this book down for me wasn’t the instalove, but the possibility of The Lovely Reckless. There were so many things that Garcia could’ve branched out on and handled phenomenally. I would’ve loved to see more of Abel and his gambling addiction, as well as how it affected his relationship with Frankie’s best friend, Lex. I was also hoping for more of Lex and Frankie’s relationship, on a deeper level than what Garcia presented, something more along the lines of Diana Gallagher’s Lessons in Falling. Frankie’s relationship with her English teacher and the journal she had to write in class reminded me of the story of the Freedom Writers, and it would’ve been nice to see how keeping that journal changed Frankie. And of course, the villain (no spoilers) could’ve been more realistic and multi-dimensional.
While Garcia’s novel was a good length and paced well, I felt that there was much more she could’ve fit into it. Instead, she ended up with many promising leads and no actual result. But would I recommend the story as a whole? I’d say yes. There are much worse books to read. If you want a bad boy story that has more than just romance, this isn’t a bad place to start. 2.5 stars.