Blurb 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?
Last year I remember this book flooding my Goodreads feed and attached to it were amazing five star ratings. So I promised myself not to let this just pass me by. This is the first time I’m reading anything from Kami Garcia. Maybe I should have picked her other works first before picking this up. Because this, I didn’t fully enjoyed. There was nothing special in this book, sadly. If anything, this felt like a collection of all clichés known to this kind of genre.
The street racing idea was a refreshing touch though. It’s something I don’t usually see in YA books and I enjoyed reading about it. But the rest of the book was so average for me. The storyline was pretty common and basic. I’ve seen it used a hundred times in a hundred different books. It simply lacked the substance that could make it stand-out.
I’m like a broken bone that wasn’t set correctly. I might not heal perfectly, but I will heal.
The Lovely Reckless gave us a look at a harsher and more dangerous kind of life as it takes us and our protagonist—Frankie Devereux—to the Downs. Frankie is our usual perfect rich girl who suddenly falls from grace after Noah’s—her boyfriend’s—murder. I quite like Frankie’s pre-Marco personality. She showed so much strength as she deals with her PTSD and as she struggles to remember the face of Noah’s attacker. Then came Marco—the source of my many frustrations. You see, Frankie is already a generic character and pairing her with an even more generic love interest doesn’t help with the story.
Sometimes you have to do the wrong thing for the right reason.
The trick is knowing when the reason is right.
Marco Leone is kind of the school’s black sheep. He had hooked up with a lot of girls, gets into fights on the first day of school, he does illegal street racing, and leads a dangerous life. He is made up of every bad boy trope there is! But of course he has to have some goodness in him. So let’s make him really smart, he’s the only person that’s nice to a homeless cat, he is gentle to his sister, he saves Frankie’s butt all the time. I guess all these were meant to pull me into liking him but instead it made me see Marco as an overly praised and glorified character in this book.
“Every once in a while, the universe gives us what we ask for, so just make sure you’re asking for the right things.”
The romance moved in an unfathomable speed. One minute Marco’s and Frankie’s gaze met for the first time. And the next minute they couldn’t stop thinking about each other? They haven’t even spoken for more than a minute every time they cross paths when Marco suddenly started acting like Frankie’s overly protective boyfriend. Or was “possessive” the right word? Did something happened between Marco and Frankie that the readers didn’t know about? Did I unknowingly skipped a chapter? Because I totally didn’t know when or how Marco developed such an intense feelings for Frankie. It just came out of nowhere! I’m sorry but for me, this couldn’t pass for believable.
“In life, a person has to fight for the things that matter to them—and that includes yourself.”
I like seeing each character—from the main down to the minor ones—deal with their own personal issues. It shows that they’re tough, that they’re responsible young adults, that they’re bigger than their problems. What I don’t like was the lack of good and supportive parents throughout the book. And it sends the wrong message—that most parents are assholes. While I can see that Frankie’s parents wants what’s best for her, they weren’t very good at listening to their daughter in the times when she badly needed someone to understand what she’s going through. Lex’s parents were negligent. Abel’s do drugs. Cruz’s beats her. Marco’s abandoned them. I mean, what the hell parents?
A few months ago, I thought remembering was the hardest thing in the world. I was wrong. Forgetting is harder than remembering, but forgiving is the hardest.
The mystery surrounding Noah’s death was one of the book’s pulling factors. At least at the beginning. Frankie was the sole witness of the murder but she lost her memory of that night. She’s having flashbacks of what happened but long before she remembered everything I’ve already figured out whodunit. It was so predictable.
To be fair the prose was addictive. It’s what made me want to keep going and finish the book despite having way too many clichés and cheesy romance. The friendship that formed between Frankie and Cruz, as well as Frankie’s friendship with Lex and Abel, was really adorable.
This book definitely has the potential to be so much more with the street racing theme in there. Maybe the author is trying to combine light and cute with dark and dangerous in this book which, in my opinion, is a unique idea. Sad to say, the instalove kind of ruined it for me. I don’t really hate instalove but I just couldn’t buy this. I don’t know, maybe I’ve read far too many books so I’m harder to impress? Or maybe I’ve grown older for this kind of story? Maybe this will work for younger readers. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me.