Series: Wicked Games #2
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, YA
Publication date: November 24th 2015
by Katherine Tegen Books
What do you do if you find yourself fantasizing about kissing your best friend? Sensitive guitarist Jake has been asking himself that same question for a long time, and there’s no easy answer. Telling his dream girl –talented anime artist Elena– about his feelings might lead to the ultimate rejection, but not telling her just might kill him.
Before Jake can make his move, though, a new mysterious guy enters the picture in an unexpected way. In Elena’s mind, Harlow is excitement-personified: a rebellious yet kindred spirit who she instantly connected with online. Jake’s gut is telling him that something about Harlow is off, and that Elena is in way over her head, but the more Jake pushes the issue, the more he pushes Elena right into Harlow’s arms –and into a tragedy that neither of them would ever see coming.
-A copy was provided by Katherine Tegen Books for review-
Don’t we just love watching trainwrecks happen?
Last year, I read the author’s Wicked Games, a young adult suspense thriller with extremely unlikeable characters who got themselves entangled in a situation that actually spelt complete and utter DISASTER. It was the sort of drama where you know everything was going to go totally wrong, and it was only a matter of watching everything explode. I do admit that the first book was suspenseful, the edge-of-your-seat kind of thriller that would make your heart pound, but because it had extremely unlikeable characters (as in I would have loved to go inside to slap them silly) the connection wasn’t really there. I didn’t feel for them, heck, I wasn’t even scared for them or anxious of what might happen. Don’t get me wrong, I love unlikeable characters, but unlikeable characters that you just CANNOT root for? You won’t find me on the same page with that.
With that said, I think Reckless Hearts amended that… easily.
Yes, it still has the same trainwreck, but this time, with two rootable characters you just want to cheer on and will feel nervous for, and even an antagonist who is so awful and so conniving. We have these characters plus a story that will put you literally on your toes… pretty much everything that I want in a suspense thriller.
What are you to do when you’re in love with your best friend next door but you have to move away across time because your mother remarried? You’ve been wanting to tell your feelings to her, but you’re so shy and timid and so hesitant to “change” your relationship with her now that you made up some silly pretend girlfriend so she wouldn’t think your love songs were about her? And what are you to do when one day, you suddenly end up having a problematic and conniving brother who is hell-bent not just on making your life hell, but to steal your very girl under your nose?
This is Jake’s unfortunate situation. Despite being so timid, I found him really adorable. You could tell how much he cared for Elena, his best friend, and how much he wanted to give her the world. And at the same time, you can’t help but fear for him too everytime Nathan is in the picture, because good lord, this guy is crazy. He is the kind of dude who’d do crazy, evil things just for the heck of it – without even a single blink. He uses bullying tactics to intimidate Jake and uses Elena’s insecurity for making her fall in love with him (or an “image” of him he conveniently made up to torture Jake).
As for Elena, I found her situation kind of complex, too. Of course, she did things that I think were completely idiotic, but I kind of understood why she decided to do them. When you’re in a vulnerable situation and surrounded by problems, and you meet that one person that gives you some sort of sanctuary and makes you feel special, wouldn’t you feel that temptation to simply give in? That’s why even though she contributed to the trainwreck they were bound to crash into, I didn’t absolutely fault her for it. She was a victim just as much as Jake was. As much as you want to feel sorry for her, you’d want to bonk her on the head, too.
And let me reiterate: the plot in this book will put you almost over the edge. It’s exciting, it’s crazy, and well, pretty intense. Especially if down the line, your life gets in danger, for something that started innocently.
If I do have one complaint, it’s that the antagonist didn’t feel complex enough. This was mostly told in Jake and Elena’s POVs, but in the previous book, all three characters had their own chapters but Nathan had almost none here, so we didn’t really see what was going on in his head. It looked like he was only doing shitty stuff because for the heck of it and I kind of wanted more complexity from him.
I’m so happy that I decided to continue reading this author’s works after her first one. Now I can hardly wait for the third book!