The Right Side of Reckless – Whitney D. Grandison – Inkyard Press – Published 13 July 2021
They were supposed to ignore each other and respect that fine line between them…
Guillermo Lozano is getting a fresh start. New town, new school, and no more reckless behavior. He’s done his time, and now he needs to right his wrongs. But when his work at the local community center throws him into the path of the one girl who is off-limits, friendship sparks…and maybe more.
Regan London needs a fresh perspective. The pressure to stay in her “perfect” relationship and be the good girl all the time has worn her down. But when the walls start to cave in and she finds unexpected understanding from the boy her parents warned about, she can’t ignore her feelings anymore.
The disapproval is instant. Being together might just get Guillermo sent away. But when it comes to the heart, sometimes you have to break the rules and be a little bit reckless…
I wrote two different reviews for this book. One when I was only a quarter of the way through the story and the other one after I had finished reading the book. One review was entirely disparaging and the other was far more positive. I’m going to give a review that sits somewhere in between. I was ready to give up on this book at the quarter mark. I am glad I didn’t as my feelings changed widely between the first and last portion of this book.
When I started this book, after reading just a few chapters I wished I had done some more research before requesting and reading this book. I judged it on its cover and synopsis alone, which sounded great, but as soon as I started reading I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy this book. Or at least, that’s what I thought to begin with. The characters seemed two dimensional. The writing needed a really good edit and everything is told instead of shown. I wasn’t even a quarter into the book and I was already sick of Regan putting up with rubbish from her boyfriend and Guillermo reads like a bad boy who isn’t actually bad, he just went along with his friends who did the bad stuff and now he is being misjudged and he’s actually a good guy, so he just needs to prove it, so no character development needed. At this point I jumped online to do a bit of research about the publisher and author and found that reviewers suggested that the author’s first book suffered from all the same points. The author is also a Wattpad star and while I love that people are getting published in this way, it doesn’t mean these stories should be published without some really thorough editing. I’m going to give some passages to my writing class so they can practice editing and rewriting to show not tell. It should be pretty easy for them to spot the areas that need improvement.
At this point I was ready to put the book down, but I honestly very infrequently not finish a book. If I’ve promised to read it, I usually do. So I skimmed through until around halfway into the book and suddenly I found myself being drawn into the story. Yes, Guillermo made a mistake but doesn’t read like a real bad boy. Yes, Regan seemed spineless. But they had some wicked chemistry and I found myself rooting for them. Guillermo shows some genuine leadership and Regan does learn to stand up for herself and it all goes down in a no-unnecessary-drama way, which I really appreciated.
I ended up really enjoying the last half of this book. I thought it had some great messages about dealing with problematic relationships, both romantic and familial. The romance and chemistry and understanding between Regan and Guillermo is the standout of the story, but I can also celebrate that this book has diverse characters and a unique voice that, while I might want to edit the heck out of the language and slang used, actually work to build that unique voice.
I’m guessing readers will love this romance and I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Romance, relationships, juvenile convicts, community service, high school, abusive relationships, identity, dogs, family.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: Frequent coarse language, f*** (37), sh** (84), as***** (5), pi** (10), di** (8), bi*** (1). Sexual references, Regan’s boyfriend constantly pressures her to have sex, references to sexual relationships and decisions to have sex. References to drug use and selling. References to violence, including physical violence that led to serious injuries and arrest.
Published: 13 July 2021 by Inkyard Press.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 416 pages.