FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Wordsmith Publicity.
Publisher: Self-Published on March 17, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (YA)
Kensington Worth had a vision for her senior year. It involved her best friends, her posh private school in downtown Chicago and time alone with her piano until her audition was perfected, a guaranteed ticket into the best music programs in the world.
Instead, a nightmare took over.
It didn’t happen all at once, but her life unraveled quickly—a tiny thread that evil somehow kept pulling until everything precious was taken from her. She was suddenly living miles away from her old life, trapped in an existence she didn’t choose—one determined to destroy her from the inside, leaving only hate and anger behind. It didn’t help that her neighbor, the one whose eyes held danger, was enjoying every second of her fall.
Owen Harper was trouble, his heart wild and his past the kind that’s spoken about in whispers. And somehow, his path was always intertwined with Kensington’s, every interaction crushing her, ruining her hope for any future better than her now. Sometimes, though, what everyone warns is trouble, is exactly what the heart needs. Owen Harper was consumed with darkness, and it held onto his soul for years. When Kensington looked at him, she saw a boy who’d gotten good at taking others down when they threatened his carefully balanced life. But the more she looked, the more she saw other things too—good things…things to admire.
Things…to love. Things that made her want to be reckless.
And those things…they were the scariest of all.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Kensington Worth’s life is uprooted when her parents make the decision to move from Chicago to the small town of Woodstock just as she’s in her senior year of high school. She misses her two best friends terribly, but she’s determined to make the most of her new start, joining the marching band and making new friends. But the boy living next door doesn’t make it easy for her. In fact, he’s about to turn her entire world upside down.
The synopsis makes Wild Reckless sound like just another YA/NA novel, one in which the good girl falls for the bad boy who secretly has a heart of gold. But Ginger Scott doesn’t write typical stories, and as I expected, Wild Reckless is in a class of its own.
Kensi is a pretty normal teen, though she’s a bit of a genius with the piano, and her parents’ status had her going to school with Chicago’s elite — until they decided to disrupt everything by moving to a small town for her senior year of high school. She misses her friends terribly and tries to keep in touch, but she’s no woe-is-me teenager, and she sets out to make new friends, have a little fun in her new school’s music scene, and take advantage of the new start she’s been offered.
Owen is no cliche either. His troubled family has been the subject of the town’s gossip since his father publicly and perhaps unwittingly committed suicide when Owen was a little kid, and since then he’s made every effort to live up to all the low expectations set out for him. But his heart of gold isn’t quite so simple, and when he first meets Kensi, he’s downright mean, mocking, and taunting. Why he’s singled her out isn’t clear, but there’s no doubt he wastes no sympathy on her, and he seems to enjoy frustrating her. But when he cruelly exposes a secret within her own family, Kensi is lost and devastated, and Owen just happens to have the nearest and quickest escape route.
It’s when Kensi’s life is turned entirely upside down that Owen lays off the cruel behavior, perhaps because he knows just how awful it is to lose the security of a stable family life, and without really setting out to do so, the two form a sort of truce that turns into a deeper friendship. That friendship, as any romance lover would hope, grows into much more, with Owen and Kensi looking past initial impressions and finding something meaningful within each other.
I could never do justice to the way in which Ginger Scott weaves a story, but these two kids had my heart in knots right up until the very end. There’s an authenticity to them that you simply don’t find in many YA books, and while there’s certainly drama in their lives, it feels genuine, like something that could happen to the people next door rather than the usual melodrama you’d find in teen romances. It’s the utterly realistic roller coaster ride that is the very definition of the teenage experience, complete with disillusionment and heartbreak, all-consuming first love, and the kind of hope that only comes from weathering a wild storm. It’s impossible not to love the characters, the story, and ultimately the way Ginger Scott perfectly captures the teenage experience.