The Lovely Reckless

9 CDs. 10:53 hrs. Macmillan Audio. Oct. 2016. $39.99. ISBN 9781427280091.
Gr 7 Up—Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux has always had it good—wealthy parents, great grades, about to attend Stanford, accomplished pianist, and dating the most popular boy at her exclusive private school—until the night her boyfriend is murdered in front of her. Although Frankie can't remember anything about the incident, she is tormented by nightmares, and her life spirals downward, culminating in a DUI and expulsion from school. Sent to live with her undercover cop father in the "bad" part of town, Frankie attends the much rowdier public high school and is instantly drawn to Marco, a street racer with a criminal past. When Frankie's father's work and Marco's actions intersect, trouble and hard choices lie ahead. Performance artist Cynthia Hopkins narrates in a clear voice in the first person, skillfully reflecting Frankie's emotions. Some characters are differentiated effectively—high school friend Cruz has a Hispanic accent, and cool Marco is drawled—but the voices of Frankie and BFF Lex are often indistinguishable from each other.
VERDICT With its realistic portrait of high school life in poverty-stricken neighborhoods, this audiobook would work for urban audiences as well as those who like drama-filled romance. ["High stakes, suspenseful romance. The drama-filled love story, though not the healthiest example for impressionable teens, will keep them turning pages": SLJ 9/16 review of the Macmillan book.]

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