After her boyfriend’s death, Frankie Devereaux spirals. A drunk-driving conviction lands her at her dad’s house, responsible for community service and public school for the first time. As she fights vicious flashbacks to Noah’s death, Frankie desperately tries to remember the face of the man who killed him. The last thing Frankie needs is Marco Leone, a dangerous racer with a larger-than-life reputation. Frankie resists the pull she feels, but when she learns who Marco truly is, she knows she can’t simply walk away from him. She’s left with a terrible choice which could destroy them both—or save them.
The rich-girl-meets-bad-boy story has been told again and again, but never has it featured a heroine as complex as Frankie. Her PTSD drives Frankie deeper into anger, depression, and risk-taking behaviors, but her new situation at school teaches her about friendship, trust, and forgiveness. Though ultimately, this is a love story about a girl recovering from trauma and a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s also about finding courage to face fear, to stand up for others, and to believe in the value of life and love.
The title comes from a song written by Frankie’s best friend’s dad, a rock star whose life ended in a tragic drug overdose. I liked the way it pulled together Frankie and Marco’s story but also the things her best friend Abel was experiencing in the wake of his father’s unexpected death.
The Lovely Reckless deals with a lot of heavy things. Sometimes Frankie seems really negative, but considering all she’d been through, I felt like this fit her character. It also showed the transformation she began to experience as she got to know Marco and Cruz, another driver at school, and had to decide whether to open herself up to them. Side note: Cruz might have been my favorite character. I loved her frankness and loyalty. Everyone needs a best friend like Cruz!
In some ways, I feel like this book is perfect for fans of The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. It has that same sort of us versus them setting in the way Garcia describes the Heights and the Downs. It has some of the same sense of romance and desperation. So I guess it’d be more like if The Outsiders was told from the point-of-view of Cherry Valance. Okay, probably not many people will follow me there. That’s okay. Cherry was the up-town girl the boys talked with who seemed pretty all right.
Frankie, Lex, and Abel are Caucasian. Frankie falls for Marco, a Latino street racer, and befriends Cruz, a Latina racer.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used with moderate frequency.
Frankie has some brief memories of her relationship with her former boyfriend—kissing him and how he never pressured her for more than she was comfortable with.
She shares some passionate kisses with a boy. In one scene, she removes her top. In another, it seems like they might have sex, but she asks him to stop.
Frankie suffers flashbacks to the night she saw her boyfriend beaten to death. The descriptions are pretty short, but graphic.
She witnesses two boys fighting at school.
Frankie gets pulled over for drunk driving. She ends up with community service and a suspended license. Later, she goes to a party and gets very drunk before wandering into the street in a dangerous part of town. Marco comes to school drunk and ready to pick a fight. Frankie’s best friend Abel’s dad died of a drug overdose and his mom is addicted to prescription drugs.