-L J Shen
Reading until the middle of the night and being unable to sleep because you’re just tormented and full of angst and your emotions are a wreck? That’s L J Shen for you. And especially for an angst and emotional wreck craver like me, I devoured this book.
Pretty Reckless follows the story of daughter of Melody and Jamie from Defy (which I stll have to read) and she is your typical ice cold, rich and popular, too mean and bitchy. To be honest, I prefer to read more through protagonists that resemble my personality so I can relate to them, and I wasn’t too keen on reading through a queen bee, but it’s L J Shen so I knew it had to be good. And Dalia blew me away. L J Shen has developed her character arc into someone so shallow on the exterior yet tragic on the inside, someone who on the exterior will involuntarily be so mean to someone, yet it all stems from feeling lonely, invisible and unloved. You see this constant inner battle within her, having a picture perfect family, popularity and famous friends, and yet, her insecurities run so deep, she uses her coldness as a wall against the world. That is until she meets Penn.
Dalia and Penn first meet when they were fourteen and share a moment rather eternal and beautiful, only for it to be the backbone to years’ worth of hate and animosity. Even though they were a breath of fresh air for each other, together, they did something that ruined someone elses life- and changed theirs’ forever. Now four years later they meet again, when Penn moves in with Dalia after a tragedy and while they both hate each other’s guts, they can’t deny their undying lust and attraction for each other and man do we feel that too.
It’s almost a signal, a signal that their love was going to be anything but pure and simple, they are both complicated and tragic people, broken and hurt- so their love was going to be disastrous and chaotic.
The prologue itself is an epic example for the whole book, you’re just thrown in there, a sweet situation turning into chaos and disaster, and you feel the hurt from the first page and, this strange climax. L J Shen just made us jump into the story barefoot, and I had to read the prologue twice just to make sure that I just read what I read.
Penn and Daria are a match made in hell- I say hell because that’s what they are together. So wrong yet so right for each other, total opposites yet balancing and bringing the good out of each other. Penn made my heart skip a beat every time with his protectiveness and all that alpha angst mixed with the perfect amount of sweetness and love. Neither of them is perfect, hell, they- especially Dalia is the character who’s usually the villain in most books, and just reading their story has probably permanently changed my perspective about jocks and cheerleaders.
‘’I don’t have enough praise for this book and everything that I experienced along with it. This is the stuff that my NA romance dreams are made of. Delicious angst, multilayered characters, plenty of plot twists, and an unputdownable story. ‘’ This is what Lana ❇✾Dirty Girl Romance❇ on goodreads had to say about Pretty Reckless and I couldn’t have put it in any better worlds.
This is particularly why this book was angstier than many other books I’ve read, the first half is almost a constant jump between hatred, hurting each other yet protecting each other from other people and is filled with angry, revengeful kisses. L J Shen, through her writing, is damned to make the reader feel the rawness, the hotness and just a rollercoaster of emotions from cringe every time Dalia says something rude despite not wanting to, or wanting to slap Penn for being a dipshit to Dalia; from swooning at the occasional sweet and protective moments between them, to getting tingles and goosebumps every time they’re near each other. Its going to get your claws into your soul and tug at your emotions.
A Place Without You by Jewel Ann is one of my favorite romance books, and Pretty Reckless has become my next- mainly for the fact that the romance is there from the first page- there is no build up, they’re just there even when they’re not. Even when they hate each other, they want each other and they care about each other. I am a huge believer in soul mates and this is the perfect example. They were each others’ from the very first time they met and it is beautiful.
Song for the book: