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Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

Reckless Girls

Repeat author

Rachel Hawkins is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include The Wife Upstairs.

by Rachel Hawkins

Excellent choice

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Quick take

These 20-somethings quickly learn island life is about the little things: Strong Drinks. Soft Sand. Cool Water. Murder.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Movieish


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Whodunit


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Drug&AlcoholUse

    Drug & alcohol use


When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.

Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and, if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.

But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts—and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.

When it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Reckless Girls.
Reckless Girls


Salt water and blood taste the same.

She’d never thought of that until now, until she was drowning in both, blood gushing from the wound in her temple, the sea rushing into her mouth.

Both are warm, tangy.

Both threaten to consume her.

It’s dark, but she can hear the waves lapping against the side of the boat, hear the frantic arguing somewhere above her. Moments ago, that argument mattered to her, but now she only cares about the pain in her head, the stinging of the salt, the ache deep in her chest.

In a way, it’s easier to let go. To let it happen.

Isn’t that what she’s been doing this whole time? Isn’t that what led her here, to this lonely spot in the Pacific Ocean, woozy and drowning and alone?

She breathes deeply.

It hurts, water rushing in where there should be air.

But after the pain, there’s a kind of peace. It’s over now. All of it.

She slips under.

She doesn’t come back up.

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Why I love it

Set on a beautiful, remote island, with unforgettable characters, Reckless Girls is the kind of book that goes down like one smooth sip. In it, Rachel Hawkins proves yet again that she is a master of suspense, plotting twists that you won’t see coming with the skill and assured hand of a true artist. But here, she has painted something truly sinister.

Lux McAllister wants nothing more than to ditch her dead-end job and leave Hawaii to travel all over the world. When two women approach her boyfriend, Nic, about chartering a boat to the remote Meroe Island, known for its shipwrecks and rumored murders, Lux joins the group and becomes instant friends with Brittany and Amma. Meroe Island is everything they hoped it would be—it’s beautiful and off the beaten path—a chance to disconnect from the real world. But they soon find out that they are not alone. As bonds of friendship begin to fray and people start to go missing, the group starts to question whether or not they will make it off the island alive.

Rachel Hawkins’s latest thriller is an instant favorite. It has everything you could want: paradise, adventure, friendship, and murder. I anticipated enjoying this book but not this much. If you love stories that are propulsive and leave you guessing until the end, then your next read must be Reckless Girls.

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Member ratings (42,808)

  • erica w.

    Phoenix, AZ

    Wow! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. If I were writing an Instagram post for this book it would definitely be one of those if you liked.... than read this types. This book gave me major Lost vibes. Read in one day.

  • Sabrina W.

    Hudson, NH

    I’ve had a tough time finding a thriller book to really grip me lately. Many fall into the “predictable” or “haven’t I read this exact plot line before” category. Reckless Girls is so far from that!!

  • Jeri B.

    Cary, NC

    Holy smoke! This book pulls you in and just keeps getting more and more intense. It’s a “Locked Room” mystery except the setting is a beautiful island off the coast of Hawaii with a scary, ambience.

  • Marisa S.

    New York, NY

    I loved how the “now” always focused on Lux but the “before” gave you a view into the other characters and wove a web of deception. Reminded me of an Agatha Christie book mixed with The Guest List.

  • Laura L.

    Crozet, VA

    Such a good story of moving on after heartache. It takes so many twist and turns to get the after. But it’s that what everyone wants? “ You can cling to the before, or you can try to live in the after

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