Review: The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

27414434I’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? (From: Goodreads)

UGGGHHHHH What did I just read?!

***Actual Rating: 2/5 Unbearable Stars***

The only thing this book teaches me is that Never judge a book too early .
There’s no denying that I enjoyed reading the first 5 chapters because I knew something huge and unexpected is going on; thus, I kept preparing myself for that surprise to come but unfortunately, I didn’t feel one.

Basically, as the synopsis says, the story is about Frankie, a 17-year-old teenage girl who witnesses someone beat her boyfriend to death and has been suffering from PTSD ever since. She starts drinking and trying to lose herself or remembering the killer’s face but to no avail. Therefore, she is depressed and guilty the entire time so her mother sends her to live with her dad, who’s too overprotective and has no qualification to be a dad at all. Anyway, she transfers to a private school full of wealthy kids, intimidating gangsters, and fierce street racers. There, she then meets a tattooed “bad boy,” Marco, who speaks for justice and fights for the right reasons but never saves himself. Then, unbelievably, he starts to play the hero and protect her whenever she’s in trouble and all of a sudden, BAM! they’re together.

I don’t want to talk about the absurdity of the insta-love because no kidding, it’s the most ridiculous one I’ve ever seen so far. Marco just appears at the exact moment when Frankie is in the middle of some troubles and he gets jealous when some guy touches her, and then he tells her his miserable past when she simply asks(apparently, he never tells anyone before) AND bursts out ‘I love you’ out of the blue. I mean, how can it possibly be more hilarious than it already is??

I get why it’s difficult for Frankie to be with Marco due to the environment they live in, and I truly appreciate that the author describes the situation (and somewhat reflects on reality) without sugarcoating it, but the issue between them and how they deal with it isn’t black and white.

“He’s talking about street racing,” Sofia whispers, filling in the blanks.
“Is that a big thing around here?”
Sofia leans toward me, and her dark waves fall over one shoulder, covering her scars. “For lots of people, it’s the only thing.”

What I’m saying is that I hate the way Frankie talks to her parents, particularly her dad. Just because he doesn’t play his role as a father well doesn’t mean she can talk back with venom ALL THE TIME. In my opinion, Frankie acts like a spoiled little girl who gets whatever she wants whenever she asks and keeps throwing tantrums when she feels like it. Sadly, she doesn’t grow as a mature protagonist throughout the book and she’s still the girl I know from the start.

Remember the street racings and car-related stuff here? There are many terms or components about cars in the book and I barely understand them while reading it. Besides, it’s also the first time I read anything about street racings and whatnot so getting to know some professional phrases is quite interesting in the meantime. Although I dislike Frankie in general, her taking risks of racing car for the first time really impresses me. I like how she manages to turn such a cold machine/engine into something as beautiful as music notes.

One foot is on the clutch, the other on the brake. I picture the pedals on a piano, the way my feet controlled them as my fingers danced across the keys. Playing the piano requires a firm but delicate touch…and timing. Getting up this ramp can’t be harder than playing Mozart’s Concerto no.19 in F Major.

She makes me want to race a car right now.

The biggest problem of the story is that everything happens too quickly and ends too abruptly. I honestly hope the author could put more efforts in depicting a specific scene or incident so that I’d be able to picture it in my mind. As a result, I feel like piecing the scattered information from the chapters together and most of the time, I have to fill in the blanks by myself.
Moreover, I realize that the author tells the story of different characters at the same time so sometimes I have no idea who’s the main one and that’s confusing.

What’s worse, the majority of the story is just pure cliché. For example, Marco’s sweet nothings to Frankie are like those in the old movies, ‘You’re too beautiful to look at because it hurts.’ or ‘I can’t live without you because you’re my everything…’ or something like that. I personally think that’s not true love and those words only make me want to puke.

All in all, it’s a happy ending but I don’t enjoy the story as much as I hoped. After finishing this one, I’m sure that Kami’s books are probably not my cup of tea because I’m unable to find her writing style enthralling. *Sorry, Kami!* For those who’d like to give The Lovely Reckless a try, I won’t stop you from doing it but I genuinely suggest you not to in case the story doesn’t live up to your expectation.


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