She used to care about being the good girl.
Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend's death, Frankie Devereux lives her life by one dangerous rule: nothing matters. But she crosses the line with a reckless choice that forces her to move in with her dadan overprotective copand transfer to a new school. When Frankie meets Marco, a tough street racer who is risking everything for his family, things get complicated.
He wasn't always the bad boy.
Everyone says Marco Leone is trouble. But at Frankie's new school, where fistfights in the halls don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football, Marco is also the fastest (and hottest) guy around. As their attraction grows, Frankie can't seem to stay away from himuntil she discovers Marco's dangerous secret.
Your own heart will race with each page turn of this heart-stopping star-crossed love story.
An Imprint Book
About the Author
Kami Garcia is a #1 New York Times bestselling and Bram Stoker–nominated author and the coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures and Dangerous Creatures novels. Her solo series, the Legion, includes the instant New York Times bestseller Unbreakable and its sequel, Unmarked.
Kami was a teacher for seventeen years and coauthored her first novel on a dare from seven of her students. If she isn’t busy watching Supernatural, Kami can teach you how to escape from a pair of handcuffs or bake a Coca-Cola cake. She has never raced a car, but there is still time. Kami lives in Maryland with her family and their dogs, Spike and Oz. Visit Kami at kamigarcia.com.
Read an Excerpt
The Lovely Reckless
By Kami Garcia
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Kami Garcia, LLC
All rights reserved.
PIECES OF ME
A police officer shines a blinding light in my eyes. "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
To ruin what's left of my miserable life?
"Was I speeding?" I have no idea, but the swerving is probably the reason.
He knocks on the roof of the car. "I'm going to need you to step out of the car and show me your license and registration."
Red and blue lights flash in my rearview mirror, and the dull haze that kept me from falling apart earlier tonight begins to fade.
I don't want to feel anything. Most of all, I don't want to remember.
"Have you been drinking?" he asks when I get out.
I consider lying, but what's the point? There is nothing he can do to me that's worse than what I've already been through.
"Miss? I asked if you've been drinking," he repeats.
I look him in the eye. "Yes."
* * *
Riding in the back of a police car sobers me up fast, but not enough to pass a Breathalyzer test at the precinct.
"Your blood alcohol concentration is point one." Officer Tanner, the cop who pulled me over, writes it down on a form attached to his clipboard. "That's two points over the legal limit in the state of Maryland."
I stop listening and watch the second hand on the wall clock click past the numbers. It's 10:20 on a Tuesday night.
The old Frankie Devereux would be kissing her boyfriend good night in front of her house right now, or slaving over her Stanford University application. She didn't have the personal essay nailed down yet. But she wasn't worried. With a 4.0 grade point average, eight years of classical piano training, and two summers' worth of volunteer work at Children's Hospital, Stanford was well within her reach.
But the old Frankie died with Noah.
The girl I am now is sitting in a windowless interrogation room, staring at grayish-white walls the color of turkey lunch meat after it spoils. Not exactly how I thought the first day of senior year would end. Considering how badly it started, I should have known.
Of course Woodley Prep chose today to hold a memorial gathering in Noah's honor.
I begged Mom to let me stay home, but she was more concerned about her reputation than my sanity. "How will it look to people if you aren't there?" It only sounded like a question.
So after fifth period, our teacher marched us outside, where the rest of the senior class was already assembled in front of the English building.
Noah hated English.
They talked about Noah Wells. Captain of the lacrosse team. Blue eyes the color of the sky. The boy everyone loved, including me.
Dead at seventeen.
I watched students who barely knew Noah plant a stupid tree for my dead boyfriend — a guy who didn't even recycle.
With a Sour Patch Kids addiction like Noah's, he would have preferred a vending machine.
When the lopsided tree was finally in the ground, Noah's lacrosse coach said a few words and invited us all to his house that evening for another get-together in Noah's honor.
Noah died three months ago, and I still couldn't sleep at night. The wounds hadn't stopped bleeding, and my school was already tearing off the bandages.
It's almost over, I'd told myself. Or so I thought.
The poem was what sent me over the edge.
Student body president Katherine Calder had written it herself, and she read the poem in front of the entire senior class while her mother videotaped the performance. The little bitch finally had a meaningful personal experience to write about for the college Common App essay.
Everything went downhill from there.
After spending an hour at Coach's house, which included an encore of Katherine's heartfelt poem, I swiped a bottle of wine and drank it in the bathroom. By the time I left, the combination of anger, alcohol, and sleep deprivation had turned me into an emotional hand grenade with a set of car keys.
Mom won't see it that way. She'll be pissed. I actually feel sorry for the cop who got stuck calling her.
The doorknob turns, and I sit up straighter. Officer Tanner comes in and hands me a cup of burnt-smelling coffee. "Your mother is here."
This will be fun.
Mom is waiting in the lobby. Even at midnight, she looks perfectly pulled together, dressed in fitted black pants and a beige cashmere wrap. With only a hint of blush and her blond hair gathered in a low ponytail, she could pass for my older sister. When my parents were still married, her hair was the same shade of light brown that mine is now. I ditched the highlights months ago, along with any trace of the old Frankie.
Holding the white foam cup, I walk toward her. My eyes are swollen, and my face streaked with mascara. I don't care about getting in trouble. Listening to one of her guilt trips is a hundred times worse.
Mom storms past Officer Tanner without giving him so much as a look. Cops only interest her if the alarm system at our house goes off. "What were you thinking, Frankie? You could've killed someone — or yourself."
"I'd never want to hurt anyone else."
It's me I don't care about.
"Even if that's true, your behavior over the last few months proves you're out of control." Her voice rises with every word. "You've been on a downhill slide since Noah died, but this"— she gestures to our surroundings —"crosses the line."
I've never seen Mom this angry, and I know she's holding back. She hates making a scene in public. I stare down at my black Adidas Sambas, the beat-up pair of indoor-soccer shoes I salvaged from the basement. The old Frankie never would've been caught dead wearing them outside the gym. But I wear them everywhere.
"Mrs. Devereux?" Officer Tanner uses his cop tone.
"My last name is Rutherford, not Devereux." Mom closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, regaining her composure and trust-fund-baby charm. "I apologize, Officer ...?"
"Tanner," he finishes for her, even though his name is engraved on the pin above his pocket.
"The last few months have been difficult for all of us. Francesca suffers from PTSD — post-traumatic stress disorder," she explains, as if he isn't smart enough to recognize the acronym. "It's certainly no excuse, but she's never been in any trouble before. If you don't press charges —"
Officer Tanner holds up his hand. "Let me stop you right there, ma'am. I know this situation is upsetting, and I'd like to extend your husband a professional courtesy. But we're not talking about a speeding ticket."
Mom bristles when he refers to Dad as her husband, but she doesn't correct him. "Francesca attends Woodley Prep, and if the headmaster finds out about this, she'll be expelled." Mom lowers her voice. "She's already been through so much. We still don't know what she saw that night."
I saw everything.
I try not to think about it, but Mom's voice fades as other sounds cut in and out.
Don't panic. Breathe.
Isn't that what the last shrink told me to do? Or am I supposed to picture my safe place? I can't remember. A switch flips in my brain, and fragmented memories from the night Noah died hit me in rapid bursts —
Strobe lights flash.
A mass of bodies swells on the dance floor — arms raised. House music blaring and bass pumping.
My head pounds along with it.
Noah told me to wait inside while he got the car. But it's too loud.
Black velvet curtains part at the main entrance, and cool air hits me.
Dim streetlights glitter against the wet asphalt. I walk around the side of the building to the parking lot. Where did he park? I didn't pay attention. Noah always remembers.
The Sugar Factory's pink marquee glows above me.
Noah's voice, low and muffled. A glimpse of his baby-blue polo shirt. A guy standing in front of him, his face obscured by black shadows — as if it were erased.
But I see Noah clearly, and I can tell he sees me. He shakes his head slowly, the movements almost imperceptible. I recognize that look, and it sends pinpricks up my arms. I've seen it after lacrosse games when a player from the opposing team came up to Noah off the field, looking for a fight.
The look means: Don't come over here, Frankie. ...
"Frankie?" Mom's voice scrambles the images, and Noah's face disappears.
I open my eyes and blink hard, battling double vision.
"Are you still drunk?" My mother doesn't recognize when I'm having a flashback, which only proves how wrong things are between us.
"I'm just tired." And completely screwed up.
The glass door to the precinct swings open, and Dad charges in like he owns the place. From his faded green Indian Motorcycles T-shirt and five-o'clock shadow to his scarred knuckles and crooked nose, he looks more like a middle-aged boxer or construction worker than an undercover cop. I guess that's the point.
He flashes his Maryland State Police badge at the county cop sitting behind the counter. Did Mom call him? Or one of the officers here?
It doesn't matter. He knows.
"Why don't you go sit down while I talk to your parents?" Officer Tanner nods at a row of red seats bolted to the wall. He doesn't have to tell me twice. He meets Dad in the middle of the hallway. "I'm sorry, Jimmy. I'd like to make this go away, but —"
Dad cuts him off. "You know I don't walk that line and I would never ask another cop to walk it, either."
I've heard my father talk about the line between right and wrong so many times. It defines every aspect of his life, and tonight I crossed it.
I slouch against the molded plastic seat and count the black rubber marks on the floor. My long hair falls over my shoulder and hides my face. I want to disappear, especially when the precinct door opens again.
"What the hell is going on?" King Richard, my pathetic excuse for a stepfather, bursts into the lobby.
"Why don't you take it down a notch, Richard? This isn't your office," Dad says. "Nobody here works for you."
"James." Only Mom calls my father by his given name. "You could at least try to be civil."
Dad crosses his arms. "I could do a lot of things. ..." Nobody pisses my mother off more than Dad. At least he gives her another target.
"That's enough, Elise." My stepfather shoots her a warning look.
Mom's heels click against the floor as she scurries over to her place beside King Richard. He rests his hand on the small of her back in case he needs to pull her invisible puppet strings.
Within seconds, they're arguing. It's nothing new, and I don't worry until the shouting dissolves into sharp whispers. Never a good sign.
Snippets of the conversation drift through the hallway, and I strain to listen.
"— ruined her chances of getting into
"If she keeps this up —" King Richard.
"Ever since Noah died —" Dad.
"It's a shame she can't ID her boyfriend's killer." Officer Tanner doesn't bother whispering. "That son of a bitch should be locked up."
My stomach lurches like someone kicked me.
He's right, but it's not a shame.
My mind is damaged — shrink code for too weak to handle what I saw that night. Now I'm a hostage to the flashbacks that hit without warning and the insomnia that keeps me from sleeping more than three hours a night.
Mom and Dad walk toward me shoulder to shoulder. A united front. They divorced when I was three, and they get along about as well as two rabid dogs locked in a closet. If they managed to agree on anything, they must think I'm a few weeks away from hooking on a street corner.
For the first time tonight, I'm scared.
Mom looks at me like I'm a stranger. "I've tried to be understanding, Frankie. But you're out of control. Avoiding your friends, sneaking out of the house, drinking with the lifeguards from the club." Maybe she has been paying attention between tennis matches.
"That was one night," I argue. At least that she knows about.
"I hoped you would snap out of this and go back to being the girl you were before."
Before I watched someone beat my boyfriend to death in a beerstained parking lot. Before I realized that doing all the right things doesn't matter. Noah was an honor student, a star athlete with offer letters from three Ivy League universities, and a good person.
And he's still dead.
"I just want you to feel like yourself again, sweetheart," Mom says.
She doesn't realize that girl doesn't exist anymore.
"Your father and I think it's time for him to get more involved."
Based on how involved he is now, that's a pretty low bar. I spend two weekends a month with Dad, if he isn't too busy working undercover in RATTF — Regional Auto Theft Task Force — a supercop unit. When I do see him, it's not exactly quality time. I usually end up eating leftover pizza until he gets home from pretending to be a car thief. On his days off, we practice what Dad calls Critical Life Skills — and what I call Ways to Dodge a Serial Killer. Fun stuff ... like how to escape from the trunk of a car if it doesn't have an automatic-release handle inside.
"Maybe your father will be able to help you get back on track," Mom adds.
"How is that supposed to work when we barely see each other?" I ask, ignoring my dad, even though he's standing right next to her.
Dad steps between us. "You're moving in with me."CHAPTER 2
When I open my eyes, the first thing I see are sunny yellow walls — at least that's the way they looked to me as a kid. Now they make me feel like I'm trapped inside a stick of butter.
Reality hits me, like it has every morning for the last seven days.
I'm living with Dad.
And this butter stick is my bedroom.
I've spent the night here plenty of times, but this is different. I won't be standing by the window on Sunday afternoon waiting for Mom to pick me up. I'm staying here until at least the end of the school year.
For now, this is home.
I dig through a dresser drawer, searching for an outfit the old Frankie would hate. Frayed white button-down or black tee? Tough call, but I go with the button-down. The loose threads would drive the old Frankie crazy. I pull on a pair of skinny jeans, and my elbow whacks against the dresser.
This room is the size of my walk-in closet at Mom's house, and it's decorated like it belongs to a ten-year-old: a dresser and matching nightstand covered with hand-painted flowers and green vines, a twin bed with ruffled sheets — and let's not forget the yellow walls.
Unfortunately, I have bigger things to worry about today.
In the hall, Cujo, Dad's huge gray-black-and-white Akita, sits next to my door.
"Hey, buddy." I scratch the dog's big, square head, and he follows me. The apartment has a simple and borderline-claustrophobic layout — two bedrooms and bathrooms at one end of a narrow hallway lined with mismatched frames, and a living room–dining room combo and a galley kitchen at the other end.
In the kitchen, Dad surveys rows of cereal boxes in the pantry. There are at least a dozen different kinds.
"You're not making me a real breakfast?" I ask sarcastically, walking past him on my way to the fridge.
Dad swears under his breath. "Sorry. I'm not used to —"
"It was a joke." I scan the shelves stocked with Dad's staples: Diet Pepsi (Coke isn't sweet enough), whole milk (for his cereal), white bread and American cheese slices (in case he gets sick of cereal and switches to grilled cheese), and a gallon of 2 percent milk (store brand).
"I bought extra Diet Pepsi and the milk you like," he offers.
"I drink Diet Coke." And I stopped drinking 2 percent milk when I was ten, a fact I don't bother mentioning anymore.
My father memorizes dozens of car makes, models, and license plates so he can bust car thieves and the chop shops that sell stolen parts, but he can't remember what kind of milk I drink? Skim. I should make him a list of my food preferences and stop torturing us both.
"I've got cereal." He shakes a box of Froot Loops.
"No, thanks." I close the refrigerator empty-handed.
Cujo's ears perk up and he bounds for the front door.
"Did you hear something, partner?" Dad asks.
The dog barks, and a split second later, the doorbell rings.
"It's probably Lex." I give Cujo a quick scratch behind the ears and start unlocking the deadbolt.
"Frankie!" Dad shouts as if I'm a child about to run out into traffic.
I turn around, searching for a sign of danger. Nothing looks out of place. "What's wrong?"
Dad points at the front door with a fierce look in his eyes. "Never open a door without checking to see who is on the other side."
It's official. My father has crossed over from paranoid to crazy. "That's the reason you yelled at me like I was about to set off a bomb?"
"Depending on who is on the other side, you could've been."
I gesture at Cujo sitting next to me calmly, with his head cocked to the side. "Cujo isn't growling. He always growls if there's a stranger at the door." A retired K-9 handler trained Cujo as a protection dog. He's the definition of an intruder's worst nightmare.
"You can't let anything lull you into a false sense of security. Letting your guard down one time is all it takes."
Does he think he's telling me something I don't know? I stifle a bitter laugh.
"This isn't funny, Frankie."
No, it's painful and pathetic, and I live with it every day.
Excerpted from The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia. Copyright © 2016 Kami Garcia, LLC. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Pieces of Me,
Chapter 2: Clean Slate,
Chapter 3: Lot B,
Chapter 4: Fight Club,
Chapter 5: Beautiful Bad Boy,
Chapter 6: Practical Arts,
Chapter 7: Dreams Die in the Downs,
Chapter 8: Highway Runners,
Chapter 9: Jekyll and Hyde,
Chapter 10: Quarter Mile,
Chapter 11: Rich Girl,
Chapter 12: Rock Stars, Poets, and Sinners,
Chapter 13: One-Eyed Cat,
Chapter 14: Bite Point,
Chapter 15: Night Train,
Chapter 16: Critical Life Skills,
Chapter 17: Proxy,
Chapter 18: Perfect Pitch,
Chapter 19: BFFs,
Chapter 20: Titanium,
Chapter 21: Nothing to Lose,
Chapter 22: Racer Girl,
Chapter 23: Unsolvable Equations,
Chapter 24: The Same Sky,
Chapter 25: Criminal Intent,
Chapter 26: No Going Back,
Chapter 27: The Chemistry of Trust,
Chapter 28: Different Perfect,
Chapter 29: Fractured Memories,
Chapter 30: Dead-End Dreams,
Chapter 31: The Always Kind,
Chapter 32: Handcuffs and Heartbreak,
Chapter 33: The Speed of Sorrow,
Chapter 34: This Is How We Break,
Chapter 35: The Wrong Reasons,
Chapter 36: Black Days,
Chapter 37: Collateral Damage,
Chapter 38: Silent Echoes,
Chapter 39: Offensive Maneuvers,
Chapter 40: High Octane,
Chapter 41: The Right Reason,
Chapter 42: The Hardest Thing,
Also by Kami Garcia,
Praise for The Lovely Reckless,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An entertaining Romeo & Juliet type melodrama. Please Note: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way. Kami Garcia is one of my favorite authors. I found the Beautiful Creatures series to be fun with great fantasy elements. So I was really looking forward to her new book, The Lovely Reckless. While there were many enjoyable aspects to this book, I also had trouble with some overused plot points that came across as silly, and an ending that tied things up a little too nicely. What I Liked: Romeo & Juliet vibe: I enjoyed how the book started out like the classic Shakespeare play. Two kids from opposite sides see each other and there is an instant attraction. Frankie's father would never approve of Marco. Marco's friends are openly hostile towards Frankie. There are many parallels that are fun to pick out (even Frankie's dog, Cujo, seems to guard her much like Juliet's nurse does in the play). Fish-out-of-water plot: The fun of the book comes from Frankie having to move in with her dad and change to a public high school. I liked how Frankie is the reader's eyes, taking in her new school, and new classmates, and learning how to navigate her changed circumstances. Frankie has royally messed up and now needs to win back to trust of her dad. Seeing herself as her dad (a cop) sees most people is sobering for Frankie. Female Characters: I loved all the female characters in this book! Frankie, Cruz, and Lex are all strong females who are each dealing with difficult family and life issues. I especially liked the friendship between Frankie and Lex. After Frankie's boyfriend Noah dies, Lex feel shut out of Frankie's life. But hanging out with Lex and her boyfriend Abel brings back too many memories of Noah. She is just not ready to get past Noah's murder. I thought their misunderstandings and awkwardness rang so true. What I Didn't Like: Cliches: With the notable exception of Frankie's dad, this is a book with a serious case of "missing parent" syndrome. There never seems to be an adult around checking up on the teens, making sure they are okay. And why is it that all of the rich kids have parents who seem bored by parenting, while the poor kids all have parents who are either dead or in jail? This bothers me to no end because I live in a city much like the one depicted in this book. There is definitely a troubled downtown and a relatively calm suburb where I live. I take offense to the notion that all the parents of the poor kids were criminals. Most parents in my town are working hard to provide for their families and check to make sure their kids arrive at school clean, fed and ready for learning. There are also people who have personal problems that make it challenging to be the parents they want to be. But income does not determine these things. Couldn't the author have shown just one positive image of a working parent (or an caring rich, stay-at-home parent for that matter)? The Ending: It is my policy to keep my reviews spoiler-free, so I will not go into specific details. But when everything is resolved so quickly after the main event, I wonder how insurmountable these orbital problems could have been in the first place. Nearly everyone got a happy ending and each kid's family situation seemed to be resolved with lightening speed. It was as if a fairy-godmother had arrived and solved everyone's prob
Really enjoyed. Sucked me right in, read it in one sitting.
Do you guys and girls ever read cheesy books that you know are stereotypical as can be and totally full of issues, but it's just so bad that it actually turns good? Maybe? Sort of? Not really? Well, occasionally, I do. One of these super cheesy and totally problematic series that I've read and enjoyed was the Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkeles. So, clearly the similarities between Perfect Chemistry and The Lovely Reckless reside in the rich vs. poor, rich girl falling in love with poor guy, and the clear gang/outside the law influences. It was even with the nicknames and just how quickly they fell in love. I got so many Perfect Chemistry feels that I started to worry...because I was getting so many feels. I had felt like I had read this same exact story before - yes, there was some major differences like there wasn't as much of a gang influence, there was car racing, and Frankie's boyfriend had died - but it still felt like generally the same spirit without feeling like anything new. I did like the characters for the most part. Frankie wasn't particularly likable to me, but she was a spoiled, damaged teenage girl. She had the authentic voice and did stupid things any teenager would do. I did like Marco and Sofia (or was it Sophia - oh shoot), Lex and Abel, and the parents. However, I felt they lacked a certain level of characterization. The mom switched thoughts on Frankie's life super randomly by the end and she was a good mom now? And I really enjoyed the dad's Critical Life Skills, but he lost a lot of the charm by the end of the book. Also, there were some major issues with the romance. This might have been the most problematic romance I've read this year. Don't get me wrong - I totally felt the attraction between Marco and Frankie and I did want to see them get together. Each time they met for the first few instances, they were fighting. Literally yelling at each other. Then they somehow fell in love? I'm not even joking. She saw him maybe a total of seven times in the book and then was professing her love for him. I was also upset with the characterization of Noah throughout the book. At first, she was in love with Noah - he was the perfect boyfriend, etc, etc. Then as her relationship progressed with Marco, Noah and her relationship changed. She loved him...she would never forget him...okay, maybe she actually had more friend love with him...okay, she knows he will never be a love-love with him. It started to feel like the author was making excuses for why Frankie was falling in love with Marco when her boyfriend had only died two months ago. I didn't completely hate this book, though. There were some good parts. I enjoyed the incorporation of auto racing and there was such a good flow to it. It is such an easy and fast read - which was so different than Beautiful Creatures, for me. Garcia has always much improved her writing style, and I enjoyed it. So, while I enjoyed this book for a good portion of it, I still had some major, major problems with it. It was problematic, and by the end of the book, I was so turned off that I literally didn't even read the epilogue part. I was so done. I did enjoy the first part, though, and I felt that the second part just didn't live up to it. I had a hard time coming up with the end rating, but I finally ended up giving it a solid three crown rating and a visit from Belle! Check out more of my reviews at http://bookprincessreviews.wordpress.com!
Kami Garcia’s latest novel, The Lovely Reckless, is a racy romantic thriller. True to the title’s name, the main character has a devil-may-care attitude after witnessing the murder of her boyfriend. She’s a strong protagonist with the spunk to fight for what she wants. At times suspenseful, this love story is a real page turner. I stayed up late one night to finish it, it’s that good.
Wow!! I love everything about this book! From the mystery, romance, and the MC learning about who she wants to be for herself. Plus the love interest was HOT!! I was aching for all of these characters, she does an amazing job at character development! It's perfect. I love everything Kami Garcia comes up with! The fast cars make you want to go speeding around, or at least binge watch Fast and Furious ;) I will definitely be recommending it to everyone! I wish I would've read it sooner!!
As most of you know, I’m a total contemporary girl. I’ve seen Kami’s other books around quite a bit, but I never picked one up, simply because they weren’t a genre that I normally read. When I saw she was coming out with a contemporary YA, I knew it was a must-read for me. I went into this book with a completely open mind and no idea what to expect… and I ended up enjoying it. SO MUCH! Frankie, who has recently lost her boyfriend who was murdered right before her eyes, is now trying to move on from that trauma. After making a bad decision to drive while intoxicated, Frankie is forced to leave her lavish lifestyle in the Heights with her mother and move in with her father, who lives in the much more poor area, known as the Downs. She’s now attending a new public high school, along with community service hours. Frankie has definitely hit a low point. That is until Marco catches her eye. He’s a bad boy with a horrible player reputation, but she’s unable to deny the attraction between them. Both have lied. Both have secrets. Both are trying to make the right choices, while constantly making the wrong ones. This story is basically my guilty pleasure: filled to the brim with DRAMA! I loved the non-stop story line that never paused, even for a second. There was always something going on, keeping me hooked and unable to put this book down. It was intense, gritty, dramatic, and outright sexy at times. There was car theft, abuse, drag racing, and murder. I loved the way Kami Garcia portrayed the struggle between rich and poor, the raw sense of entitlement of some, and the complete wrongdoings of others for all the right reasons. This story had quite a bit of impact and kicked me in the gut a time or two. What kept me from giving it a higher rating? Basically, this story road the line of insta-love a little too closely for my liking. I can totally handle insta-lust or any instant attraction between teens, but flat-out insta-love and I just don’t get along. I totally get when you’re attracted to someone, and even feel a connection that’s, to a point, undeniable. What I can’t understand is the “I love you” that comes after only being together a handful of times for short little spurts. While reading, this story progresses at such a fast pace that I didn’t really notice it at first… but when I neared the end and realized that this all happened in such a short period of time, the fact that these two were totally in love and couldn’t live without each other was a bit hard for me to grasp. Nonetheless, this book was so much fun and I really enjoyed it!! It totally reminded me of The Fast and the Furious, which was a favorite movie of mine when it first came out. Though racing wasn’t necessarily as prominent as it was in the movie, it had a similar feel with tortured teens who were racing for different reasons, all trying to find their place in life and better themselves and their families. Perfect for fans of Katie McGarry (who is a personal favorite of mine!), this book is sure to please many teens, especially those craving a darker, grittier YA romance. (Thanks to Fierce Reads for the review copy!)
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia Publisher: Imprint (Macmillan) Publication Date: October 4, 2016 Rating: 4 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): 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? What I Liked: Confession time - I've not read any of Garcia's books. This is my first. I know she has several different series published, but none of them appealed to me. This book did, because it seemed like the kind of YA contemporary that I love, filled with romance and falling in love. There were those aspects, and so much more. I'm happy to say that I really liked this novel. Frankie's boyfriend was killed recently, and she hasn't been able to fill that void. She has PTSD from what she saw (in terms of how he died), and she's been so different than she was before he died. One costly mistake and her mother sends her to live with her father. Frankie's dad is an undercover cop, living in the Downs (think of the Downs as a "rougher" part of town). Gone is Frankie's life in a trust-fund prep school. The teens at the Downs are more interested in cars, street races, and gambling. Marco Leone, a student at the high school, is a street racer, a tattooed, cocky boy who isn't afraid of a fight. He's exactly what old Frankie would avoid, but new Frankie finds him irresistible. But his secrets could cost Frankie everything. Is he worth it? This contemporary novel reminded me of Katie McGarry's books. I've seen it compared to Simone Elkeles's books too, but I haven't read enough of her books to draw that comparison. McGarry's books are hit or miss for me, but I liked some of them and I liked Garcia's. We have the rich girl fallen from grace (so to speak), and a rough and tumble boy from the wrong side of town. I really like this trope. Frankie has so much going on in her life - her boyfriend was killed in front of her, her mother is practically an emotionless robot, her stepfather is a royal pain in the butt, her father is an overbearing, overprotective cop. In the beginning, it seems like Frankie has given up on herself - she doesn't care about piano (she's really good and has played for years), or Stanford, or school. A DUI and being sent to live with her father and attend a public high school while doing community service? Frankie welcomes the change. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
Oh. My. Gosh. The Lovely Reckless is the third book I've won from Goodreads. Let me just say, when I entered a contest to win a book about street racing, I had no clue how much I would love it. From the very first pages I was already hooked, which isn't really usual for me. Sometimes it takes me a couple of chapters to really get into a story. It also usually takes me about a week to read around 300 pages. This book has nearly 400 pages and I read it in like four days. I've seen The Lovely Reckless compared to Simone Elkeles' books, and while I loved them, I'm pretty sure this book is even better. It's been a while since I've read Elkeles' books, but from what I remember, this one has more story. Not only is a rich, white girl in love with a criminal she should not be in love with, she also has her own demons to fight and her own role to play in this story. She doesn't sit on the sidelines, trying to win him over. Her hands were dirty before she met him. I love Frankie and Marco and how in love they are, and how their stories tie together. I love how passionate they are about each other and that they're both willing to prove it by making hard sacrifices. The whole book keeps you captivated. It's not at all filler, like just getting you from point A to point B, you know? The last, like, fifty pages or so, were crazy though. I had to tell my family to leave me alone multiple times because I needed this ending. And it was not disappointing. I loved how long this book was, but still, I totally would have taken more. If you're into YA, definitely check this book out. It's the best one I've read in a while.
I love Kami's other books and coupled with the tagline of "Romeo and Juliet meets Fast and the Furious" and I was eager to devour it. I liked Frankie well enough. She's in a crappy situation and we're getting inside her head for all of the aftermath. Even though I could understand why everything was so dramatic all the time, it got a bit old. Marco seems like a good guy with a lot of potential. I wish we would have seen more at the ending. Normally I don't mind insta-love. It's not a deal breaker for me at all. Yet somehow I just couldn't believe that Frankie and Marco are truly, madly, deeply in love after maybe 4 10 minute interactions. The plot was fast paced and interesting. There are a lot a lot a lot of subplots and secondary characters. With so many, it felt like we didn't really get to know some of them. Overall, I was intrigued by the story and definitely wanted to know how it all turned out. Even though I liked it, there was something missing for me to be rabid about it, like I was expecting. **Huge thanks to Imprint and NetGalley for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Edgy, sexy, and completely addicting! Once I started this, I couldn't put it down--I didn't want to either. My dad is a retired cop so I could easily relate to Frankie's relationship with her dad. I enjoyed the setting, the characters and the friendships that developed, especially between Frankie and Cruz. The scenes where she's teaching Frankie how to drive a stick cracked me up! (I would love to see Cruz get her own book. Hint, hint, Kami.) The romance between Frankie and Marco was immediate and intense, but not surprising under the circumstances. Grief and guilt play key roles in this story, both of which, often lead to rash decisions with lasting--and sometimes--serious consequences. Kami handled both in a way that felt realistic and believable. And it's true, sometimes people make bad choices for the right reasons. This is perfect for fans of Katie McGarry's Crash Into You, and Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry series.